Khalilzad highlights importance of Termez to Peshawar railroad

Jalil Afridi

Washington DC: America’s specially envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad said that with completion of railroad link between Uzbekistan city Termez to Peshawar, the journey of businesses and their goods will be made in couple of days instead of months. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the said railroad has already been completed between Termez to the Afghanistan city of Mazare Sharif with the support of Uzbekistan.

 Mr Zalmay Khalilzad said that with peace in Afghanistan, “that country can prove to be a great connectivity point for the trade to excel in many countries.”Zalmay Khalilzad who was retired from government service of the US government many years ago, was reappointed by President Trump as Special Envoy to Afghanistan.

During todays virtual event at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a US government funded Think Tank,  Zalmay Khalilzad seemed very tired and sick of repeating the same things over and over again since last few months, beginning February 29 when peace deal was signed between the United States of America and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.

The February 29 peace deal did make its headlines in international media but the reality of achieving real peace deal with the Taliban, seemed impossible while having boots of the US troops in Afghanistan. 

Mr Stephen Hadley beautifully moderator the event and asked questions which were mostly volleyed and passed unanswered. Stephen Hadley asked asked Zalmay Khalilzad that it is true that violence has decreased against the American forces in Afghanistan but the violence against civilians and Afghan forces remain very high. In his reply Zalmay said that it was agreed with Taliban that certain cities such as Kabul, US forces, foreign troops and Etc will not be targeted and this commitment has been honored by the Taliban.

Ironically, Zalmay Khalilzad later reminded the viewers that US troops has the right to retaliate and help Afghan forces when they are attacked by Taliban.

When asked about the role of Pakistan in peace talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad said that Pakistan has played a positive role and he specially thanked and named  Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa efforts in promoting these peace talks.

Correspondent of Reuter’s news agency asked whether the basis of Intra Afghan Peace Talks will be based on the agreement signed between the US and Taliban on February 29 this year?. Zalmay replied by saying that the peace talks are a package sort of a deal and US will try it’s best to make it Afghan Owned peace talks.

With regard to the “spoilers” of these peace talks, Zalmay said that the most dangerous and which wants to “tear” Afghanistan is the ISIS. He did not go into further details to explain how ISIS came  to Afghanistan or who are they (ISIS) is supported by. 

With regard to the role of neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Zalmay said that China and Russia have extended their full support to the peace talks whereas Iran is a bit tricky because of the “over all relations of the US with Iran.”

Regarding Al Qaeda, Zalmay Khalilzad said that Taliban have taken action against Al Qaeda but he can not go into any further details of that. 

The role of women in these peace talks was also discussed at length by both the moderator and Mr Zalmay Khalilzad and it was mutually agreed that the US gives great importance to the role of women in ever walk of life whereas on other hand Taliban don’t have a single female member in the peace talks.