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US envoy returns after collapse of Taliban-Afghan peace talks

The State Department said United States special envoy for Afghan peace process Zalmay Khalilzad has returned on a marathon trip to again facilitate the inter-Afghan dialogue which was scuttled last week. 

Despite showing disappointment over the collapse of peace talks, Khalilzad left on Sunday on a journey that will take him to Afghanistan and Qatar, the usual venue for talks with the Taliban.

In Doha, “he will continue to press forward on negotiations with the Taliban to reach a consensus on core national security issues, and urge their participation in an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue,” a State Department statement said, without directly confirming he would meet again with the Taliban through the course of his trip until May 11.

Last week, the US representative had said on Twitter, “I’m disappointed Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative has been delayed. We’re in touch with all parties and encouraged that everyone remains committed to dialogue.”

Continuing further in another tweet, Zalmay wrote, “Dialogue is and always will be key to a political roadmap and lasting peace. There is no alternative.”

He also urged “all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans.” The envoy also offered his assistance in this regard in his statement.

A key part of the long Afghan peace process, entailing a meeting between the Taliban and Afghan officials along with civil society members, was postponed owing to militant’s reservation over the lengthy guest list.

The talks which were scheduled to kick off from Friday in Doha were delayed citing Taliban’s objections over a 250-member Afghan delegation.

 

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