Washington (October 13, 2018): The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has met with Taliban representatives in Qatar on Friday, says American media.
US President Donald Trump’s administration was pushed to find a way to end the 17-year-old Afghan war. The US media reported that Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban officials in Doha — the second time in four months that American officials have held face-to-face talks with Taliban representatives.It was not clear what the two sides discussed. Khalilzad, who is trying to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, is currently on his first trip as the special representative. His 11-day trip was to take him to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
The State Department declined to say whether the meeting with Taliban officials in Doha took place.
“We can’t confirm specific meetings or the content of diplomatic conversations,” said a State Department spokesperson, speaking on the condition of anonymity.“Special Representative Khalilzad held 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 conflict in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson added.
Alice Wells, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, met Taliban officials in Doha in July for what were described as talks about talks. A Taliban official who was part of the four-person delegation to that meeting said it produced “very positive signals”.
A US-led coalition forced the Taliban from power in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks on Washington and New York. Taliban officials want the withdrawal of American forces and a government in Kabul that reflects the group’s view.
Earlier on October 09, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday had said that Pakistan would continue to play its role for the political solution of the Afghan conflict.
He was talking to the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad who called on him in Islamabad on October.
Zalmay Khalilzad calls on Foreign Minister in MOFA today pic.twitter.com/HkbMelqlbG
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) 9 October 2018
The foreign minister said that Pakistan welcomes the US efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
Both the leaders agreed to continue cooperation on Afghan reconciliation process.
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, @realZalmayMK and Foreign Secretary led their delegations for talks between the US and Pakistan. The delegations comprised of security, defence and diplomatic officials from both sides. @statedeptspox @StateDept pic.twitter.com/cxzSYv8yFF
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) 9 October 2018
The US envoy was received by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua at the Foreign Ministry for delegation level talks.The delegations from both sides comprised of security, defence and diplomatic officials.