The US negotiator on Afghanistan will shortly resume talks with the Taliban and seek efforts toward a ceasefire, officials said Wednesday, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly halted diplomatic efforts that could end America’s longest war.
Zalmay Khalilzad has arrived in Kabul to meet President Ashraf Ghani, a senior Afghan official told AFP, less than a week after Trump visited Afghanistan and gave his blessing for a return to negotiations.
The State Department said that Khalilzad, a veteran US negotiator who was born in Afghanistan, would head to Qatar to meet with the Taliban after his meetings in Kabul.
In a nod to concerns raised by Ghani, the State Department voiced support for a ceasefire -- which the Taliban have long rejected and did not figure in a draft accord that Khalilzad earlier reached with the Islamist insurgents.
“Ambassador Khalilzad will rejoin talks with the Taliban to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement of the war, specifically a reduction in violence that leads to a ceasefire,” a State Department statement said.
In September, the United States and the Taliban had appeared on the verge of signing a deal.