Wednesday, June 23, 2021

US Negotiator To Tour India, Pakistan China To Drum-Up Support For Afghan Conference – Reports

The chief US negotiator in Afghan peace talks has been drumming up support for a regional conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul this month, the Al Jazeera news channel said Wednesday.

Zalmay Khalilzad began on Sunday his first regional tour since US President Joe Biden took office. He spoke to Afghan officials in Kabul on Monday and was due to travel to Doha and other regional capitals.

A member of the Kabul-based High Council for National Reconciliation told Al Jazeera that Khalilzad would visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, India and Pakistan in a bid to secure support for the gathering, which the US plans to hold under the auspices of the UN.

Khalilzad has reportedly been advocating forming a transitional government in Afghanistan despite opposition from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who said in January he would only hand over power to an elected successor.

Talks between Kabul and the Taliban on ending a years-long war stalled this year as militant attacks continue unabated. The US was poised to pull troops from Afghanistan by May but now insists that a durable political settlement must first be achieved.

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