Senior U.S. Diplomat Calls On Afghan Taliban To Seize 'Moment Of Opportunity' For Peace Talks

Senior U.S. diplomat has called on the Taliban to seize a "moment of opportunity" to open formal peace talks with the Western-backed Afghan government and negotiate an end to the 17-year conflict.Alice Wells, the U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of state in charge of South and Central Asian affairs, told RFE/RL that the "door had opened" for a possible peace settlement with the Taliban following President Ashraf Ghani's offer of unconditional talks in February and an unprecedented cease-fire in June."The Afghan government is ready," Wells told RFE/RL on November 29 in Brussels, a day after she attended a UN-sponsored two-day conference on Afghanistan in Geneva. "The Afghan people, and by that I mean the Taliban also, are ready. It's a question of whether the Taliban leadership is prepared to take up this offer."Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born former U.S. ambassador to Kabul and Iraq, was appointed in September to the U.S. State Department team that is leading the reconciliation effort and peace talks with the Taliban.................


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