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Tuesday Apr 02 2019
Web Desk

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to arrive in Pakistan today

Web Desk
United States Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: United States Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad will arrive in Pakistan today, diplomatic sources said.

According to sources, the US envoy will meet with civil and military leadership during his visit to the country.

A day earlier, Khalilzad arrived in Kabul seeking a peace deal with the Taliban to end 17 years of war is heading back to the region for a new round of talks, the US State Department said.

The State Department did not confirm he 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 added.

According to the State Department, Khalilzad's visit is aimed at consulting with the Afghan government and other stakeholders about the status of US talks with the Taliban.

The last negotiations between Khalilzad and the Taliban closed on March 12 in Doha and appeared to make headway.

The emphasis on negotiations among Afghans comes as the Taliban refuse to sit down for talks with the internationally recognized government of President Ashraf Ghani, despite US appeals.

An outline of a deal is expected to see the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan in return for the Taliban promising not to let the country be used by foreign extremists — the reason for the US attack following the 9/11 attacks.

President Donald Trump has voiced impatience with continuing America's longest war and late last year ordered the withdrawal of half the 14,000-strong US troop contingent.

Khalilzad will visit United Kingdom, Belgium, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Qatar during his current trip which runs from March 25 to April 10.


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