US Envoy to meet Taliban in Qatar, and Visit Pakistan, India
The U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad is on a commission to press Taliban arbitrators in Doha and administrators in India and Pakistan to support decreased violence, advancing up intra-Afghan peace discussions and collaborating on the coronavirus pandemic, the State Department said on Wednesday.
Zalmay Khalilzad’s tour comes amid attention that arising Taliban strikes and the coronavirus pandemic could deal likely fatal blows to his delayed efforts to finish decades of conflict in Afghanistan.
At each stop, Khalilzad “will urge assistance for an urgent decrease in violence, stimulated timeline for the commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations, and collaboration with all sides in discussing the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan,” the State Department announced.
The statement did not reveal the specific schedule of Khalilzad’s trip that started on Tuesday. It is the second tour he has made since April 12 amid the pandemic to rescue a February 29 Peace Deal that he and the co-founder of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed for a phased retreat of U.S. troops from America’s longest battle.
A successful initiative could help U.S. President Donald Trump as he endeavours re-election in November. Khalilzad, the State Department stated, would press Taliban officials “for complete implementation” of the February 29 Peace Deal.
In New Delhi, a vital supporter of the Afghan administration, Khalilzad will address India’s role in maintaining peace, and he will hold discussions on the peace process in Islamabad, the State Department stated.
The U.S.-Taliban deal called for the Taliban to release up to 1,000 state prisoners and Kabul to discharge up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners before peace talks that were to start on March 10.
But a fight over the pace and scale of the releases between the militants and the administration of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which was not a party to the deal, served to delay the talks.
The negotiations also have been delayed by a feud between Ghani and his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, who both claimed victory in a contradicted September election, and by heightening Taliban attacks.
The Taliban have mounted more than 4,500 strikes since signing the February 29 deal, according to data observed by Reuters News Agency. The provinces hardest hit are ones with the most COVID-19 contagions. The militants blame Kabul and the United States for the surge in violence.