WASHINGTON: Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy for Afghanistan, began a fresh tour that will take him to Islamabad and Kabul, besides other capitals in the region, for a new round of talks with the Taliban, the State Department said on Tuesday.
Mr Khalilzad will also visit Belgium, Britain, Jordan and Uzbekistan as he seeks global support for a peace deal. The trip is scheduled to run through April 10.
The envoy met representatives from China, Russia and the European Union last week.
The State Department did not confirm Mr Khalilzad would hold fresh talks with the Taliban, but said he would stop in Qatar, the usual location for negotiations with the militants.
Khalilzad’s trip is “part of an overall effort to facilitate a peace process that brings all Afghan parties together in inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations”, the State Department said.
The emphasis on negotiations among Afghans comes as the Taliban refuse to hold talks with the internationally recognised government of President Ashraf Ghani, despite US appeals.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2019