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U.S. Envoy Briefs Afghan Leaders On Peace Effort After Reportedly Meeting Taliban


Since Zalmay Khalilzad last visited Kabul on October 4, his tour has taken him to Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

The U.S. envoy on an Afghanistan peace initiative has met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, a day after he held talks in Qatar with Taliban leaders.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born U.S. adviser and former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, briefed Ghani and Abdullah on October 13 about his meetings with senior ministers and top diplomats in four countries as part of a diplomatic mission aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Since Khalilzad last visited Kabul on October 4, his tour has taken him to Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

A senior member of the Taliban said Khalilzad met Taliban representatives on October 12 in Qatar's capital, Doha.

The U.S. State Department would not confirm whether such a meeting took place in Doha, saying only that Khalilzad had had "a number of meetings with a wide range of stakeholders as part of his trip to explore how best to reach a negotiated settlement" to the war in Afghanistan.

But The Wall Street Journal also reported that the U.S. envoy met with Taliban leaders in Doha, marking the second time in four months that U.S. officials have held face-to-face talks with Taliban representatives.

Khalilzad was appointed in September as President Donald Trump's special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation as part of renewed efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

A statement from the Afghan president's office on October 13 said Khalilzad told Ghani and Abdullah that the United States was "ready to do anything to help with the peace process," but insisted the process should be led by the Afghan government.

There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials about Khalilzad's latest visit to Kabul.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and The Wall Street Journal

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