President Ghani Met US Peace Envoy Khalilzad, Discussed Next Steps in Peace Process

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani today met with the US Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss the intra-Afghan talks.

The Presidential Palace in a statement on Monday said that both sides discussed the next steps in the peace process and emphasized the need to accelerate the process.

According to the statement, Khalilzad called for a regional and international consensus on national and international diplomacy to advance the peace process, and reaffirmed the effective role of the United States in maintaining peace in Afghanistan.

The US envoy touched down in Kabul on Monday for meetings with local officials, in a bid to revive a flagging peace process as violence soars in the country and a deadline for US troop withdrawal draws closer.

Zalmay Khalilzad’s arrival marks the first time he has returned to Afghanistan since US President Joe Biden took office in January and asked him to stay in his post.

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 from the country may unleash greater chaos.

In Kabul, Khalilzad met with Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation this morning.

The two sides “discussed the talks in Doha and the review of US-Taliban deal by the US administration, ending the war in Afghanistan and ways to find political settlement through talks in Afghanistan,” a spokesman for Abdullah’s office said.
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The envoy is also set to travel to Qatar, where he will meet with Taliban leaders along with trips to unspecified regional capitals, according to the US State Department.

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