The US envoy from Afghanistan arrives in Kabul, next stop

Cheryl Sanders
December 7, 2019

The United States' envoy for Afghan peace process, Zalmay Khalilzad, arrived in Kabul on Wednesday, an Afghan official said, days after US President Donald Trump suggested stalled talks were back on.

The US state department said that Khalilzad will be flying to Qatar to meet Taliban negotiators, news agency Reuters reported.

USA peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in Kabul on Wednesday to launch an "accelerated effort" to get Afghans on both sides of the protracted conflict to the negotiation table to plot a road map to a postwar Afghanistan.

In September, america and the Taliban had appeared on the verge of signing a deal that might have seen Washington start pulling hundreds of troops out of Afghanistan in return for guarantees to maintain out overseas extremists.

It was also expected to pave the way towards direct talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul which ultimately be a possible peace agreement after more than 18 years of war.

The talks would be the first official round since September when President Trump declared that what was thought to be a done deal was dead after a surge in violence killed 12 people in Kabul, the capital, including a US soldier. After the murder of an American soldier.

Trump told American troops at Bagram air base in his surprise visit to Afghanistan last week he had resumed peace talks with the Taliban and that the Taliban want a deal and also agree to a ceasefire. He spoke under the condition of anonymity to discuss the talks.

The United States has acknowledged Pakistan's role to bring the USA and Afghan Taliban back on the talks table, officials said.

The Taliban described the Afghan government as illegitimate and firmly refused to cease fire before reaching an agreement with the US.

A Taliban source says Khalilzad proposed a week-long ceasefire for trust building before resumption of the dialogue.

The Taliban, Trump said, "want to do a ceasefire" and that "it will probably work out that way".

And in an indirect dovetailing of interests that was noted favourably by Khalilzad, both USA and Afghan forces as well as the Taliban have been battling fighters from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the ISIL.

Afghan forces recently announced that the group's local branch, dubbed IS-K or ISIS-K, was completely defeated in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

"ISIS-K has not been eliminated, but this is real progress", Khalilzad wrote on Twitter, noting "effective operations, quot; by the US-led Afghan government and Taliban fighters". USA and Afghan forces also have continued their assault on Taliban, according to daily activity reports from the US military in Afghanistan. "And tremendous progress", Trump told USA troops during the visit.

Trump - who is raring to point out achievements as he runs for re-election subsequent 12 months - has additionally been keen to finish the struggle, typically describing the 18-year United States intervention as a waste of U.S. blood and treasure.

Other reports by iNewsToday