US calls on Taliban to name team for Afghan peace talks

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The U.S. representative for Afghanistan reconciliation on Monday called on the Taliban to come up with an authorized team of negotiators for peace talks.

Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born U.S. diplomat, made the call to reporters during his trip to the capital Kabul as part of his tour following visits to Pakistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

After arriving on Sunday, Khalilzad met President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and discussed the prospects for an Afghan-led reconciliation process, said Ghani's office in a statement.

A day earlier, the Taliban, on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the U.S. invasion in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., renewed their call for the “occupying forces” to leave the country.

According to Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan government’s chief executive officer, this July U.S. and Taliban officials first met in Qatar to discuss laying the groundwork for peace talks.