KABUL -- US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad raised doubts Thursday (December 20) about the Taliban's desire to end the 17-year war, after the militants refused to meet with a Kabul-backed negotiating team.
While he was certain the Afghan government wanted to stop the conflict, Khalilzad told Ariana News that he questioned whether the Taliban were "genuinely seeking peace".
"We have to wait and see their forthcoming steps," Khalilzad said according to a translation of the interview provided by the US embassy in Kabul.
Khalilzad, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, had a face-to-face meeting with the Taliban in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, which the United Arab Emirates hailed as "positive for all parties concerned".
But the Taliban would not meet with a 12-person Afghan delegation, Khalilzad said, describing the decision as "wrong".
"If the Taliban are really seeking peace, they have to sit with the Afghan government ultimately to reach an agreement," the former US ambassador to Kabul said.