Khalilzad meets Abdullah in Kabul to speed up peace process

Published March 2, 2021
Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah pictured during a meeting with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. — AFP
Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah pictured during a meeting with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The US special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, held discussions on Monday with a senior Afghan official in Kabul over ways to accelerate the peace process, before heading to Qatar, where negotiations with Taliban representatives are going on.

US-brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and the militant group began in September but progress has slowed down and violence has risen, while there is also uncertainty over whether international forces will pull out troops by May as originally planned.

The State Department said in a statement on Sunday that Khalilzad and his team were visiting Kabul and Qatar. It said the US diplomats would also visit other regional capitals as part of a mission aimed at working towards “a just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”.

It did not provide dates or other details of where they intended to go, though Pakistan is a neighbour with keen interest in how the Afghan conflict plays out.

US envoy is also expected to visit regional countries

On Monday, Khalilzad discussed the peace process with Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, and he was also expected to meet other Afghan officials.

“Development of the peace process, accelerating the process and the assessment of the Doha peace agreement by the US new administration were the main topics of discussion,” said Fraidoon Khwazoon, a spokesman for Abdullah.

President Joe Biden’s administration is conducting a review of a February 2020 deal struck between the Trump administration and the Taliban to determine whether to stick by a deadline to withdraw the remaining 2,500 US troops from Afghanistan, and end America’s longest war.

The Taliban’s deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani made a speech on Friday, broadcast on the group’s media channel with excerpts posted on Twitter, warning the United States against going back on a commitment to withdraw.

“Today... we have the technology to use drones, we have our own missiles. This time if the Mujahideen resume fighting the enemies, it would be something they have never seen before. They will wish the battlefield was like in the past,” he said, referring to Taliban fighters.

US and European officials have said the Taliban have not fulfilled commitments they made in an accord reached with the United States in Doha a year ago, that set up the move towards peace talks involving the Afghan government.

The Taliban have largely denied responsibility for a rash of attacks in Afghanistan since beginning talks with the government in September.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021

Most Popular



27 Nov 2021

Supporting ECP

ALTHOUGH the government bulldozed legislation on electronic voting machines through parliament, the reality is that...
27 Nov 2021

Forgiving the Taliban

IF there is one takeaway from Thursday’s gathering of more than 1,000 Shia Hazaras in Kabul, it is the call given...
Living in fear
Updated 27 Nov 2021

Living in fear

THE registration of a blasphemy case against four members of a family from a village on the outskirts of Lahore has...
26 Nov 2021

State Bank’s projections

THE macroeconomic projections listed by the State Bank of Pakistan in its annual report on the nation’s economy...
Ad distribution
Updated 26 Nov 2021

Ad distribution

If present govt can muster will to achieve this task it would set a solid precedent that no future govt would find easy to undo.
26 Nov 2021

Messy passengers

NEWS that passengers on a PIA flight from Manchester to Islamabad left so much litter on the plane that it led to a...