UN chief Antonio Guterres has been closely following talks between the US and the Taliban about a “significant reduction” of violence in Afghanistan aimed at opening the way for intra-Afghan peace negotiations, according to his spokesman on Monday.
During his visit to Islamabad, Guterres expressed his sincere wishes that such talks are successful and lead to an Afghan-led peace process, the statement said.
The Secretary-General has been following closely the talks between the US and the Taliban about a significant reduction of violence in Afghanistan aimed at opening the way for intra-Afghan peace negotiations, the statement further added.
Last year, in November, US President Donald Trump announced the resumption of peace talks with the Taliban.
On Saturday, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani voiced cautious optimism about a partial truce agreed between the Taliban and US and said that a further announcement was expected in the coming 10 days.
However, the Taliban claimed on its social media channels that 11 civilians were killed in the airstrike by government forces.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US president had given the go-ahead for further talks. He hailed recent progress, but said the negotiations were complicated and that a peace deal had not yet been reached, the BBC reported.
Earlier, the Afghan government disclosed a list of delegates for the peace negotiating team once the US and the Taliban finalize their peace deal.
Last year, in September, Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation had said that the US and Taliban are “at the threshold of an agreement” that would reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together and negotiate.
Last week, Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said he was cautiously optimistic that there could be a US agreement with the Taliban over the next days or weeks, but a withdrawal of American forces was not imminent.
On December 19, Khalilzad also said that the US and Taliban were approaching an important stage in the Afghan peace process.
The draft agreement ensured that over 5,000 US troops will withdraw from five American bases in the first 135 days after the signing of the deal.
Since the end of the NATO combat mission in January 2015, the US maintains one contingent within the framework of the new allied mission of advising Afghan troops and another for “anti-terrorist” operations.
(With inputs from agency)