The United States said it is displeased with the remarks of the Afghan National Security Advisor in which he accused the Trump administration of bypassing the democratically elected government of Afghanistan in their direct talks with the Taliban.
Over the past two days, Afghan NSA Hamdullah Mohib at various public forums during an appearance at a Washington DC-based think-tank and in an interaction with reporters described the US's talks with the Taliban as surrender discussion.
He alleged that the Special US Representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is keeping the duly elected government of Afghanistan in dark over the talks and that in the latest round of talks in Doha they were humiliated by kept waiting in a hotel lobby.
"We don't know what's going on. We don't have the kind of transparency that we should have," Mohib told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. He claimed the Afghan government is getting the information in bits and pieces.
"The last people to find out are us," Mohib claimed.
He alleged that Khalilzad has personal ambition in Afghanistan.
"The perception in Afghanistan, and people in the government think that perhaps perhaps all of this talk is to create a caretaker government of which he will then become the viceroy," he alleged.
"We don't believe that the comments that were made warrant a public response. And we are in discussions with the government to express our displeasure," State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters at his biweekly news conference.
Both Khalilzad and US Ambassador to Afghanistan John R Bass are in close consultation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and other senior members of the Afghan government, as well as the country's broader political leadership, on all matters involving peace in Afghanistan, he said.
"In our talks with Taliban representatives, we are getting to a place where the Taliban and an inclusive Afghan negotiating team can come together to discuss a political settlement that ends the conflict. This intra-Afghan dialogue must be part of any final package and such a dialogue must include the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghan stakeholders. So we are in continuous daily coordination," Palladino said.
An intra-Afghan dialogue, he said, must be a part of any final package.
Such a dialogue must include the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghan stakeholders, including women and youth, he added.
Khalilzad returned to US from a marathon 16-day talks with the Taliban. He is currently in consultations at the State Department and around Washington as well as meeting with representatives from other partner countries, Palladino said.
"The last round of talks saw meaningful progress. We have moved to an agreement in draft on the first of the two core issues, specifically counterterrorism assurances and troop withdrawal," Palladino said.
"When the agreement in draft is finalised, the Taliban and an inclusive Afghan negotiating team that includes the Afghan government and other Afghans will begin their work on the other two core issues: intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and a comprehensive ceasefire.
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