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Pakistan

AFP
March 6, 2021

US envoy Khalilzad meets Afghan Taliban for the first time since President Biden took office

Pakistan

AFP
Sat, Mar 06, 2021
Zalmay Khalilzad, Mullah Baradar shake hands after signing the peace agreement in February of last year. Photo : AFP

  • Afghan Taliban spokesman says Zalmay Khalilzad and top US general in Afghanistan met with group's negotiating team in Doha late Friday.
  • Meeting came after Zalmay Khalilzad met Afghan leaders in Kabul earlier this week
  • This is Zalmay Khalilzad's first public visit to Qatar since US President Joe Biden took office.


DOHA:  US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met the Afghan Taliban in Doha for the first time since President Joe Biden took office as Washington looks to revive the stalled peace process.

The envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, held talks earlier this week with Afghan leaders in Kabul, including President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chair of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation which oversees the government's talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

Taliban spokesman Muhamad Naeem tweeted that Khalilzad and the top US general in Afghanistan met with the Taliban's negotiating team in Doha, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, late Friday.

"Both sides expressed their commitment to the Doha agreement and discussed its full implementation. Likewise, the current situation of Afghanistan and the rapidity and effectiveness of the Intra-Afghan negotiations were discussed," he wrote.

Speculation is rife over America's future in Afghanistan, after the White House announced plans to review a withdrawal deal brokered by Khalilzad and the Taliban in Doha last year.

Under that agreement, the US is set to withdraw from Afghanistan in May, but a surge in fighting has sparked concerns that a speedy exit may unleash greater chaos as peace talks between the Kabul government and Taliban continue to stall.

The accord states that the US will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, with the Taliban promising not to allow territory to be used by terrorists — the original goal of the US invasion following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Khalilzad's visit marks the first time he has publicly returned to Qatar since US President Joe Biden took office in January and asked him to stay on in his post.