“The use of explosive weaponry in cities is having an indiscriminate impact on the population,” Fillion added. “Many families have no option but to flee in search of a safer place. This must stop.”
The lightning speed at which the Taliban have accumulated battlefield gains has lent urgency to the need to restart talks. The surge began in April, when the U.S. and NATO announced they would end their military presence and bring the last of their troops home. The final date of the withdrawal is Aug. 31 but the U.S. Central Command has said the pullout is already 95% complete.
On Monday, the U.S. emphasized that the Biden administration now sees the fight as one for Afghan political and military leaders to win or lose.
“When we look back, it’s going to come down to leadership and what leadership was demonstrated, or not” by Afghans, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a Pentagon news conference. “It’s their country to defend now. It’s their struggle.”
Khalilzad, the architect of the peace deal the Trump administration brokered with the Taliban, was expected to hold talks with key players, as well as “multilateral organizations” to see how to restart talks and halt the Taliban onslaught.
The U.S. envoy will also likely seek a commitment from Afghanistan’s neighbors and the region not to recognize a Taliban government that comes to power by force. When the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan, three countries recognized their rule: Pakistan, Saudi Arabi and the United Arab Emirates.
Senior Afghan officials may travel to Doha in the coming days, including Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the government’s reconciliation council. Pakistan’s national security adviser, Moeed Yusuf, on Monday called for “reinvigorated” efforts to get all sides in the conflict back to talks, describing a protracted war in Afghanistan as a “nightmare scenario” for Pakistan.
Yusuf, speaking to foreign journalists in Islamabad, refused to definitively say whether Pakistan, which holds considerable sway over the Taliban, would recognize a Taliban government installed by force, saying instead that Pakistan wants to see an “inclusive” government in Kabul.