It is time for the United States to re-engage…
The Taliban does not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran — it is closer to the Saudi model. The group upholds a mix of traditional Pashtun values and an orthodox interpretation of Islam…
[W]e should use as a positive incentive the benefits that will accrue to Afghanistan from the construction of oil and gas pipelines across its territory … These projects will only go forward if Afghanistan has a single authoritative government.”
—Zalmay Khalilzad, “Afghanistan: Time to Reengage,” The Washington Post, 07 October 1996, A21.
A return of the Taliban regime will not be acceptable for Afghans and the international community.
“I don’t think anyone could convince the Afghan people and the world about a return of the Taliban-like regime.”
—Zalmay Khalilzad, interviewed by Mujahid Kakar, TOLO News, March 30, 2011. He emphasised that the Taliban should accept the Afghan constitution, renounce violence and cut all ties with the al-Qaeda as a precondition for peace.
Fascinating to see how things change so much, especially now that Zalmay is no longer an executive with an oil company trying to build a pipeline across his country.