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Khalilzad visits Kabul amid tensions over peace process

AT News Report

KABUL: The US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad arrived Monday in Kabul, in a nearly one-month delay after his fifth negotiation with Taliban representatives in Qatar which the two sides claimed ended with progresses to get close peace in the war-devastated country.

Khalilzad who would directly come from Doha to Kabul to report about his talks with Taliban, called “an important meeting in the US” as an excuse for the delay.

He tweeted that he was happy to be back to Kabul, where he met a delegation appointed by the government to run the peace talks with Taliban including Salam Rahimi head of the team and Umer Daudzai, head of the High Peace Council’s secretariat who is also involved in negotiations.

The US veteran diplomat also said that he discussed intra-Afghan talks with the government team, adding that he plans to meet President Ashraf Ghani.

He also met with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and Foreign Minister. “We discussed how the international community can best support them in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned Afghan peace process,” he tweeted.

He also met with Kabul and provincial represetnatives of the Afghan Women’s Network, where he discussed may issues. “While Afghans alone will decide the composition of their delegation for talks, women must be at the table during all negotiations about peace and Afghanistan’s future.”

Khalilzad’s visit to Kabul takes place after he was accused by Hamdullah Mohib, Ghani’s national security advisor that he was “seeking his personal interests in negotiations with Taliban”. Mohib said at a United Nations session in New York that Khalilzad was trying to get power in Afghanistan, an accusation followed by strong reactions from the US state department in support of Khalilzad.

Khalilzad himself denied the accusation. The US diplomats were reported to refuse working with Mohib anymore, and even some of these diplomats left a meeting held at Ghani’s office because Mohib was there.

Khalilzad now gets prepared for the sixth round of negotiations with Taliban in Doha.

While Taliban have not yet accepted to sit with Ghani administration for peace talks, the government makes effort to hold sessions with the group to manage the peace process.

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