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Parliament praises Khalilzad’s mission in Afghanistan

AT-KABUL: Members of parliament welcomed American diplomat Zalmai Khalilzad’s new job as the US secretary of state special envoy for Afghanistan, saying he would play an effective role in the country.

The Afghan-American veteran diplomat takes over the job for the second time in Afghanistan. He was appointed by the former US president George W. Bush as his special envoy in Afghanistan in the early 2000s.

Lawmaker, Dawood Kalakani, said Wednesday that Khalilzad had enough information about the strongholds and supporting centers of terrorists and his appointing would cause intensifying fight against terrorism as well as the peace program. He said that Khalilzad knew well about Pakistan’s dual policies regarding Afghanistan.

“He has enough information about Afghanistan and the region and has been involved in the events in the region. He knows about Pakistan’s dual games regarding Afghanistan and can play an effective role in helping Afghans bring peace to our country,” he said.

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that Khalilzad had been appointed as his special envoy for Afghanistan, while flying to Pakistan.

He added that Khalilzad would take over the leadership of the US efforts over Afghan peace program. Khalilzad was accompanying Pompeo in his Islamabad trip, according to reports.

Pakistani analysts believe that the US efforts to improve relationships with Islamabad would not work when Khalilzad was appointed to the new position.

Zahid Hussain, a Pakistan analyst has said that Khalilzad was a serious critic of Pakistan.

“Mr. Khalilzad has worked as the US ambassador to Afghanistan and knows Afghans and the region. Afghans are optimistic for his job here and we hope he will work more on peace program,” said an Afghan political expert, Shahzada Massoud.

The US secretary of state has said he would encourage the new government in Pakistan particularly prime minister Imran Khan to work closely with Afghan government in its peace program.

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