US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to visit Pakistan, Afghanistan for new Afghan peace talks round: US state department

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United States special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who is on a fresh official countries tour, will visit Pakistan and Afghanistan for a new round of discussions with the Taliban, the US state department has said on Tuesday.

According to Dawn news reports, Khalilzad was also scheduled to pay an official visit to Uzbekistan, Jordan, the United Kingdom and Belgium, during his official tours. His tour to these countries will be initiated from April 10.

Khalilzad has met with representatives from the European Union, China and Russia last week.

However, the state department did not confirm that Khalilzad will hold talks with the Taliban but has said he would pay a visit to Qatar, a location usually used for negotiations with the Taliban.

The state department said the envoy’s visit was “part of an overall effort to facilitate a peace process that brings all Afghan parties together in inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations”.

This development has come after the Taliban repeated its refusal to hold talks with the Afghan government internationally recognized government of President Ashraf Ghani, though the US appealed several times.

The Taliban and US officials held talks in Qatar, with both sides stating progress has been made to end the 17-year-long crisis in war-torn Afghan country.




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