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Khalilzad back in Qatar after brief Pakistan visit

AT News

KABUL: The US special envoy for Afghanistan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad went back to Qatar to apparently restart negotiations with Taliban representatives after a short visit to Pakistan following an announcement by the two parties on Friday that the talks took a brief pause.

Khalilzad said Friday that he took the pause to let Taliban negotiators consult their leadership. Shortly after Khalilzad’s statement, media reported of his immediate visit to Pakistan.

But Taliban spokesman in Qatar said that the pause was based on their demand because they needed to consult their leaders.

On Saturday, media said that Khalilzad flew back to Qatar where he has been involved in peace negotiations with Taliban for more than one year.

Political analysts said that Khalilzad would likely resume talks with Taliban in the weekend.

Analysts also said that Khalilzad asked Pakistani officials to encourage Taliban for reducing violence and to hold talks with the government of Afghanistan.

Taliban had earlier said that the talks with the US had progresses and they would sign the final deal soon. They had said that the two sides agreed to stop attack on each other’s forces, but the group claimed responsibility for an attack near the US air base in Bagram district on Thursday.

The attack faced an outrage by Khalilzad, who said that “Taliban must show they are willing and able to respond to Afghan desire for peace.”

Khalilzad said on Twitter that he updated Pakistan officials “on the status of talks and welcomed Pakistan’s help to facilitate a reduction of violence and ceasefire in Afghanistan.”

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