Zalmay Khalilzad to visit Afghanistan, Pakistan to push for negotiations with the Taliban

Photo: AFP

The United States’ Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, the UAE and Qatar to push for peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.

A statement issued by the US State Department said that Khalilzad will visit the region from November 8 to 20. “He will meet Afghan government officials and other interested parties to advance the goal of an intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations that include the Taliban and lead to a sustainable peace,” it said.

This visit is an effort to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiation table with the Afghan government for peace talks. Khalilzad will be accompanied by an inter-agency delegation on his trip. He will meet high-level officers and other stakeholders.

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He called on the Afghan government and Taliban to organise authoritative negotiating teams during his last trip to the region in October.

The dates for his visit to Pakistan have not been announced yet but he will head to the country during the 13-day tour where he will meet the civil and military leadership to find a peaceful solution for the Afghan conflict.

Dr Mohammad Faisal, the spokesperson for the Foreign Office, told Arab News that “Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan is a positive step toward efforts for peace in Afghanistan.” He said that Pakistan is willing to extend support for a settlement in the war-torn country but the US needs to understand that Pakistan has little influence over the Afghan Taliban.