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US envoy on new Afghanistan trip

January 10, 2019

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WASHINGTON: US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad headed on a trip to Afghanistan and regional powers in a fresh bid to negotiate an end to 17 years of war. Khalilzad, who met Taliban representatives last month in Abu Dhabi, will travel to Afghanistan as well as China, India and Pakistan on the trip lasting through Jan 21, the US State Department said.

In accordance with US policy, the State Department did not say if he would again meet the Taliban but said he would talk to “Afghan government officials and other interested parties”.

Quoting Khalilzad, the State Department said that “the only solution to the conflict is for all parties to sit together and reach an agreement on the political future of Afghanistan with mutual respect and acceptance”.

Khalilzad’s trip comes after President Donald Trump signalled he would bring home half of the 14,000 US troops in Afgha­nistan as he grows increasingly impatient over Ameri­ca’s longest-ever war.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019