Taliban's claim of agreement violations unfounded: Khalilzad

by IANS |

Kabul, Oct 19 (IANS) US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has said that the Taliban's recent claims that Washington had violated the Doha agreement were"unfounded", adding that "inflammatory rhetoric" does not advance peace.

"Instead, we should pursue strict adherence to all articles of the US-Taliban Agreement and US-Afghanistan Joint Declaration" TOLO News quoted the envoy as saying in a series of tweets on Sunday.

"Taliban attacks in Helmand, including on the provincial capital; Taliban attacks against Afghan security forces; and Taliban complaints of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) operations and coalition strikes led to a recent meeting in Doha.

"The belief that says violence must escalate to win concessions at the negotiating table is very risky. Such an approach can undermine the peace process and repeats past miscalculations by Afghan leaders," he said.

Khalilzad further said that in the Doha meeting, all sides had agreed to decrease attacks and strikes and reduce violence and casualties.

But although violence in Helmand has decreased, the overall violence in Afghanistan still remains high, he added.

Earlier on Sunday, the Taliban issued a statement where it said that US forces have bombed non-conflict zones in Helmand, Farah and a few other provinces, TOLO News reported.

The group warned that the consequences of such bombings will be on the US.

The the US forces have denied the claims, saying the "airstrikes in Helmand and Farah have been and continue to be solely in defence of the ANDSF as they are being attacked by the Taliban".

The Helmand conflict has so far left more than 5,000 families displaced.

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