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Khalilzad Embarks On Afghan Peace Mission

AT News

KABUL: The US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad has embarked traveling to Germany, Afghanistan and a number of countries to discuss the Afghan peace process, sources said on Sunday.

Talking on condition of anonymity, he said that Khalilzad visited Germany and that he would fly to Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, UAE and some other countries on the quest of Afghan peace process.

Khalilzad was reconfirmed by the US President Joe Biden to continue the Afghan peace mission. His visit comes a week after the government and Taliban negotiating teams resumed the fragile intra-Afghan negotiations.

The US President Biden said earlier that his administration was committed to find a political end to the Afghan war and withdraw American forces from the country. The US and Taliban forged a preliminary peace deal after more than ten rounds of talks on February 29th, 2020 in Doha, capital of Qatar, where the insurgents also maintain a political office.

Under the deal that also laid out the release of more than 5,000 Taliban by the government in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security forces, the Taliban are called to cut ties with other terrorist groups in the region, reduce violence and do not attack on the foreign forces. In return, the US would withdraw all troops by May this year.

The US Department of Defense said earlier that the number of American soldiers dropped to 2,500 in Afghanistan, the lowest number since the US entered the country.

Celebrating the annual anniversary of the February deal, Mohammad Naim, a spokesman for the Taliban political office in a message stressed that the rest of the American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan in the remaining time determined in the deal.

He also accused some ambiguous circles of making hurdles before the intra-Afghan negotiations, saying that the negotiations were supposed to begin in March but delayed because of the prisoner swap process. “Our negotiations are based on the Doha agreement signed between the Taliban and US,” he added.

The Afghan government hoped that Khalilzad would make effective progress in facilitating the peace process.

“We welcome the US special envoy’s tripe. The United States is a good strategic partner for Afghanistan,” said Sadat Mansoor Naderi, minister of state for peace affairs.

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