Khalilzad briefs Pompeo on Afghan peace talks

Updated April 17, 2019

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US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is now in Washington to brief the Trump administration on his long visit to various allied nations for promoting peace talks in Afghanistan. — AP/File
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is now in Washington to brief the Trump administration on his long visit to various allied nations for promoting peace talks in Afghanistan. — AP/File

WASHINGTON: US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is now in Washington to brief the Trump administration on his long visit to various allied nations for promoting peace talks in Afghanistan.

“Just this morning, I spoke with our ambassador who is working to bring peace in Afghanistan,” said US Secretary State of Michael Pompeo in his remarks at the Texas A&M University on Monday evening.

“We’re trying to end the longest war in the US history and save the lives of Afghans and American soldiers alike.”

US envoy due in Doha on 19th for another round of negotiations with Taliban

Later, Mr Khalilzad also confirmed in a tweet that he was in Washington, “enjoying a windy spring day” and met Turkey’s chief presidential adviser Ibrahim Kalin. “Appreciate Turkey’s commitment to Afghanistan. Turkey’s willingness to support the Afghan Peace Process is welcome,” he wrote.

The US special envoy began his latest peace mission on March 25, visiting Afghanistan, Britain, Belgium, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Qatar. The mission focused on “bringing all Afghan parties together in inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations,” said the US State Department while announcing the visit.

In Kabul, Mr Khalilzad consulted with the Afghan government and other Afghans about the status of US talks with the Taliban. He also encouraged Afghans, both in and outside the government, to form an inclusive negotiating team and discuss next steps in intra-Afghan discussions and negotiations. The Afghan High Peace Council announced on Monday that they had formed a 150-member delegation, which included dozens of Afghan women as well.

At other destinations, the US special envoy met “allies and partners” and discussed with them “the status of peace talks and to coordinate sustained commitment by the international community to peace and development in Afghanistan,” the state department said.

Read: Hundreds of Afghan delegates to meet with Taliban in Doha

He is expected to return to Doha on April 19 for yet another round of talks with the Taliban. For the first time since the peace negotiations began late last year, the Taliban have agreed to meet officials of the Afghan government as part of a larger Afghan delegation.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2019