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WASHINGTON: The United States has noted Afghanistan’s absence from the three-nation Afghan peace talks held in Moscow last week but hoped the meeting would lead to peace.

Pakistan, China and Russia held the three-ways talks in Moscow but failed to invite Afghanistan, earning a strong protest from Kabul.

At a news briefing in Washington on Tuesday afternoon, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States recognised Afghanistan’s right to hold all negotiations with other nations on issues that concerned the country and its people.

The US support to the Afghan government remained steadfast and Washington still believed that only an Afghan-led reconciliation process could bring peace to Afghanistan, he said.

“What we welcome is any international effort to help Afghanistan become secure and more prosperous. And we continue to support, as we always have, an Afghan-led reconciliation process,” said Mr Kirby when asked if the US supported the three-way talks.

“We still believe that’s the right way to go here, going forward. That hasn’t changed. And our support for President [Ashraf] Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah [Abdullah] remains steadfast.”

Mr Kirby also noted that as a nation-state Afghanistan “has every right and every responsibility, quite frankly, for the betterment of their own people to have, whether it’s multilateral or bilateral, discussions with neighbouring nations and nations that aren’t neighbouring”.

While responding to another question, he noted that the United States was also kept out of those talks. “We obviously weren’t there either, so I can’t speak to the specifics of this meeting,” he said.

The United Sates, however, welcomed any talks held to discuss “the same secure, safe, prosperous Afghanistan that we all want to see”. Such talks could be constructive if they came up with “ideas to pursue that, in keeping with mandates from the international community and in particular Nato”, he said.

In a statement issued after the Moscow talks, Russia, China and Pakistan expressed concern at the increasing influence of the militant Islamic State group in Afghanistan and over the deteriorating security situation in that country.

Responding to another question, Mr Kirby said he was aware of the Afghan government’s request to help remove national and international sanctions on a former warlord, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, who has now signed a peace deal with Kabul.

“Sanctions committee consultations are confidential and we don’t talk about them,” said the State Department official when asked if the US would help remove the sanctions.

Published in Dawn January 5th, 2017


Comments (20) Closed



SHri Jan 05, 2017 09:26am

Reality Check for Pakistan.

Raddi Jan 05, 2017 09:44am

The meeting was like, you are discussing my favorite food without including me and knowing me. The last meeting was rejected by Afgans. So waste of time and Money

maverik Jan 05, 2017 09:51am

@SHri 15 years of US solution hasn't worked so far. How's that for a reality check?

Everyone knows what the US is doing in Afghanistan under the guise of "fighting extremism". US and India has used Afghanistan like a tissue paper against its own neighbors. Its no coincidence that all the neighbors of Afghanistan are having discussions about Afghanistan without Afghanistan. Everyone knows who controls the Afghan government.

SAIF ZULFIQAR Jan 05, 2017 09:57am

No power in the world can bring peace to Afghanistan, ever.

Desi Dimag Jan 05, 2017 10:04am

Afghan-led reconciliation process will only bring peace in Afghanistan. Moscow talk was like "begani shadi me abdullah dewana".

khanm Jan 05, 2017 10:25am

Only Afghan-led process can bring peace to Afghanistan: US...indeed ...meaning Americana are leaving them in lurch... just like the proposed peace plan in Iraq , Syria and Libya... George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq'.. Wonder who God is talking to this time...

SMI Jan 05, 2017 11:34am

If US knew this then why US interfering their

RAJA CHILL Jan 05, 2017 11:58am

No body cares for anybody except his own interest in this world.And the best hypocrat wins!Race is on in afganistan...

A Shah Jan 05, 2017 12:14pm

Only Afghanistan working with India can bring peace.

point of view Jan 05, 2017 12:31pm

Something fishy is going on if Afghanistan was not invited in the meeting when the meeting was on Afghanistan.

Alba Jan 05, 2017 12:40pm

The usual stupid statement from John Kirby as usual. A statement from a State Department official in military uniform speaks for itself. Whoever can get a peace process rolling in Afghanistan - let it be. The US military has sent too many reservists to Afghanistan for too many years on too many tours of duty. The US government needs to let them stay at home and raise their children. Washington used up the draft, used up the reserves - what's left except peace?

Waqas Jan 05, 2017 01:16pm

Basically read this as below: Only Afghanistan led peace - with blessing from US - can bring peace in Afghanistan. Because otherwise we Americans will make sure that there is no peace.

salim Jan 05, 2017 02:37pm

@alba There is no draft in reserves, It's voluntary.

Ayub Jan 05, 2017 03:13pm

He is quite right.

Qamar Jan 05, 2017 03:43pm

American was fighting Russia for decades. First in the garb of cold war then in Afghanistan with the so-called freedom fighters. To achieve its targets they pressurized all Arabs and Pakistan. Now India --- one time Russian ally --- is allying America. On the other hand US has invested in heroin. While the two regional powers China Russia together. Not digestible to US. So US is now in a conflict with them to retain its hegemony. You talk or not talk with Afghan, American interest are at stake.

Gustaakh Jan 05, 2017 03:47pm

Russia-Turkey led process brought peace in Syria and Russia-China-Pakistan led process will bring peace in Afghanistan. Reason is that US has lost all its influence in the region and Russia has already filled that void.

Simple man Jan 05, 2017 03:52pm

Yes. Now that you have totally decimated that area and are in the process of doing the same to 6 other nations.

Rah Jan 05, 2017 04:41pm

I cannot agree more on this.. a process without afghanstan is a joke..

Iftikhar Husain Jan 05, 2017 05:37pm

The USA has been trying to bring peace for a long time but failed let other governments try they may be successful.

Yaqoot Jan 05, 2017 06:19pm

@SHri yes reality is your country is there and the US is there yet ISIS flourishes in Afghanistan and poppy production is at record levels........reality check in deed