Zalmay Khalilzad in Kabul for amelioration of peace talks

By Arhama Altaf - Web Editor

05th December, 2019

U.S. special representative Zalmay Khalilzad visited Kabul for amelioration of talks and to end the war in Afghanistan.

He met President Ashraf Ghani and discussed steps that could lead to a peace deal.

According to a statement, Khalilzad will fly to Doha, where he will rejoin talks with Taliban negotiators to discuss steps that could lead to a ceasefire and a settlement to the war in.

The Qatar meeting appeared to be a continuation of several weeks of informal talks and not a resumption of the formal negotiation on a U.S. troop withdrawal which was terminated by U.S. President Donald Trump in the month of September.

Earlier in September, the United States and the Taliban had appeared to sign a deal that would have seen Washington begin pulling thousands of troops out of Afghanistan in return for promises to keep out foreign armed groups.

It was also expected to pave the way towards direct talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul which ultimately be a possible peace agreement after more than 18 years of war.

Trump, in the same month, abruptly withdrew an invitation to the Taliban to meet in the US after the killing of an American soldier.

President Trump cancelled the negotiation as the sides neared a deal for withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops in return for Taliban assurance that al Qaeda and other groups will not use Afghanistan as a base to attack to attack the United States.

The deal would have been followed by negotiations on a political settlement between the Taliban and a delegation of government officials, civil society leaders and others.

Trump met Ghani during a surprise Thanksgiving visit to U.S. forces at Bagram Airfield last week, raising hopes for resumption of efforts to end the insurgency the Taliban have waged since being ousted from power by the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

The chances of reviving negotiations, however, remain doubtful.

Kabul says it is ready to revive talks. But it has rejected the previous format under which Khalilzad excluded Afghan officials from U.S. troop withdrawal negotiations.

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