KABUL (Pajhwok): The former US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation has blamed then president Ashraf Ghani for refusing to share power with the Taliban.
In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Khalilzad said: “They (the Ghani government) preferred the status quo to a political settlement.”
He claimed when the Ghani administration realised that the US was leaving, it miscalculated the effects of the continuing war. “They were not serious about the political settlement.”
The ex-diplomat believed the US did not press Ghani hard enough. “We were gentle with President Ghani. We used diplomacy. We encouraged him.”
In line with the original conditional withdrawal agreement, the Taliban would have eventually agreed to power-sharing, he thought.
Khalilzad, who recently resigned as US envoy to Afghanistan, also took issue with the Biden administration’s decision to lift conditions on the withdrawal agreement.
Khalilzad inked the agreement with the Taliban on Feb 29, 2020 in Doha after lengthy negotiations. The pact paved the way for the US to end its longest war.
Under the conditions-based accord, negotiations were to be held between the Taliban and the Afghan government and a comprehensive ceasefire enforced.
But President Joe Biden opted for a calendar-based withdrawal, ignoring those conditions, he alleged. “That was a decision made way above my pay grade.”
As Kabul-Taliban talks faltered, the US feared the militant group would resume attacks on American forces if they stayed put in the country.
The United States went for talks the Taliban as it was losing the war in Afghanistan, said Khalilzad.