US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, in a bid to push stalled Afghan peace negotiations, reached Istanbul on Saturday.

Khalilzad and his delegation were received at Dolmabahce Palace by Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

During a meeting, recent developments in Afghanistan and the details of peace talks that Turkey plans to host in Istanbul were discussed.

The peace talks in Istanbul will be held in a manner supporting the peace negotiations in the Qatari capital Doha between the representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban, a statement by the presidential spokesman said.

The hope that the peace talks in Istanbul will give a new impetus to the Afghan peace process was also expressed during the meeting.

It was noted that lasting peace in Afghanistan will be possible with an inclusive, broad-based, and sustainable political solution and that the peaceful environment to be established in Afghanistan will also contribute to regional peace, stability and welfare.

It was underlined that Turkey will as usual stand by the people of Afghanistan.

US Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield also attended the meeting.

Peace talks will be held next month and its date will be announced soon.

AFGHAN GOVT FEARS: Meanwhile, the Afghan government has warned of chaos and civil war if the US and NATO forces withdraw without a peace deal in place.

Addressing a news conference in Kabul a day after the Taliban warned the US against extending military presence beyond the May 1 deadline in line with the Doha Agreement, Afghan National Security adviser Hamdullah Muhib said the arbitrary withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan poses a risk of a return to civil war.

“If the Taliban hope for chaos in the country, God forbid, and to grab power, they are mistaken. No one wants the Taliban to return to power,” said Muhib, flanked by Army Chief Gen Mohammad Yaseen Zia and Deputy Interior Minister Abdul Saboor Qaneh.

His remarks followed a New York Times report stating the US intelligence agencies have told the Biden administration that the Taliban could overrun most of Afghanistan within two to three years if US troops leave before a power-sharing deal is reached between the warring sides.


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