US welcomes announcement on Afghan peace negotiations starting Sept 12



ISLAMABAD, SEP 11 – The United States welcomes the announcement that Afghanistan peace negotiations will begin on September 12th.  The start of these talks marks a historic opportunity for Afghanistan to bring an end to four decades of war and bloodshed.  The people of Afghanistan have carried the burden of war for too long.  They yearn for peace.

 Only through an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led political process — one that respects the views of all Afghan communities, including women and ethnic and religious minorities — can the parties achieve a durable peace.

This opportunity must not be squandered.  Immense sacrifice and investment by the United States, our partners, and the people of Afghanistan have made this moment of hope possible.  I urge the negotiators to demonstrate the pragmatism, restraint, and flexibility this process will require to succeed.  The people of Afghanistan and the international community will be watching closely.  The United States is prepared to support as requested.

The United States recalls the commitment by the Afghan government and the Taliban that terrorists can never again use Afghan soil to threaten the United States or its allies.  Now is the time for peace for Afghanistan.