WASHINGTON: The Trump administration formally relaunched the Afghan peace process on Monday by sending its special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad back to Europe for consultations.
Khalilzad will also visit Moscow where he will discuss various options for ending the 18-year-old war with his Russian and Chinese counterparts, said an official statement released in Washington.
“Ambassador Khalilzad and an inter-agency team departed on travel to Brussels, Paris and Moscow,” said the statement, adding that in Brussels and Paris, the US envoy “will meet like-minded partners including the EU, Nato and UN to review how best to support accelerated efforts to reach peace in Afghanistan”.
In Moscow, Khalilzad “will meet Russian and Chinese counterparts to discuss shared interests in seeing the war in Afghanistan come to an end”, the statement added.
Before departing on his latest peace offensive, Khalilzad consulted senior US military leaders in Washington.
After a meeting with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark A. Milley, Khalilzad said that a political settlement in Afghanistan will help reduce the burden of war and protect the gains made in Afghanistan.
Last month, Trump surprised Americans by announcing he had invited senior Taliban leaders to the Camp David presidential resort during the 9/11 weekend to sign a peace agreement.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2019