KABUL – The US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, has embarked on a new trip to four countries to discuss ongoing efforts regarding peace process in Afghanistan.
“Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will lead an interagency delegation to Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India from January 8 – 21. He will meet with senior government officials in each country to facilitate an intra-Afghan political settlement,” the Department of State said in a statement.
The statement further added that “the United States supports the desire of the Afghan people and the international community for a political settlement that ends the 40-year conflict and ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for international terrorism.”
In accordance with US policy, the State Department did not say if he would again meet the Taliban but said he would talk to “Afghan government officials and other interested parties.”
Quoting Khalilzad, the State Department said that “the only solution to the conflict is for all parties to sit together and reach an agreement on the political future of Afghanistan with mutual respect and acceptance.”
Ambassador Khalilzad will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to chart a shared course for their nation’s future, the statement added.
“Special Representative Khalilzad continues to coordinate his efforts with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and other Afghan stakeholders to ensure an intra-Afghan peace process,” the State Department said, adding that “The US goal is to promote dialogue among Afghans about how to end the conflict, and to encourage the parties to come together at the negotiating table to reach a political settlement where every Afghan citizen enjoys equal rights and responsibilities under the rule of law.”
During his last trip in December, Special Representative Khalilzad reiterated that the only solution to the conflict is for all parties to sit together and reach an agreement on the political future of Afghanistan with mutual respect and acceptance, according to State Department.
His trip comes after President Donald Trump signaled he would bring home half of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan as he grows increasingly impatient over America’s longest-ever war.