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What happens to peace talks if Khalilzad steps down?

AT News

KABUL: The US Envoy for Afghan Peace Zalmay Khalilzad will probably continue his job as mediator among Afghans even as his Republican comrades are to leave the White House in 70 days.

Faridoon Ajand, an Afghan political expert writes in an article that Khalilzad had earlier lost all important posts he held in the US government while Republicans were in power in the past.

He was appointed as President Trump’s envoy for Afghanistan and managed to make a peace deal with the Taliban in February.

Ajand predicts that Khalilzad would quit his job when the Democrats occupy the White House. He expresses concern about a vacancy after Khalilzad, saying he doesn’t see anyone else to fill Khalilzad’s vacant post.The article reads that Washington’s “maximum pressure” on Kabul would reduce at post-Khalilzad’s first step, who brought heavy pressure on President Ghani in the past one year to force him for meeting Taliban’s demands.

Ghani at first did not agree to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners when he learned that Khalilzad had assured Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to make Kabul to release them in the peace deal. Ghani angrily said that he was not authorized to do it, adding that the people of Afghanistan should decide.

Later, Ghani took his words back and released all the 5,000 imprisoned insurgents. A Loya Jirga called this year asked Ghani to release those 400 militants who were charged for big crimes so that the obstacles be removed from road to peace. Ghani then released the 400 dangerous insurgents too.

If the deadlocked peace negotiations are not completely stopped, the article reads that the United States would possibly change its approaches.

Taliban’s Political Spokesman, Mohammad Naeem Wardak, said it was too early to announce what the insurgent group would do to change the negotiations process.

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