US to restart talks after Trump’s nod | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 06, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:24 AM, December 06, 2019


US to restart talks after Trump’s nod

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.

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