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US envoy arrives in Kabul to brief Afghan leaders ahead of peace talks

US envoy arrives in Kabul to brief Afghan leaders ahead of peace talks/ AFP / Jim WATSON

KABUL (Rahnuma) : US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Sunday to brief members of the Afghan government on developments in peace talks between Washington and the Taliban.

Khalilzad’s visit is the first since Hamdullah Mohib, a national security adviser to President Ashraf Ghani, publicly accused the Afghan-born diplomat of using the peace process to become the head of a provisional government, referring to him as a “viceroy.”

The incident led to Mohib being summoned by the US State Department and barred from entering the country.

On Monday, Haroon Chakhansuri, a government spokesman, said Khalilzad would hold talks with Ghani following the conclusion of the fifth round of diplomacy between the Taliban and the US in Doha last month.

The chief executive of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, will also attend the meeting.

“The talks with him (Khalilzad) will be about the peace process, and about what the government of Afghanistan can contribute to it, to bring peace to the country,” Abdullah told ministers on Monday.

Khalilzad took to Twitter following initial audiences with members of the government later in the day.

“Glad to be back in #Kabul. I started my morning by meeting with #Afghan government representatives with responsibility for the #AfghanPeaceProcess, including the President’s Chief of Staff Rahimi & SE Daudzai. We discussed the urgency of making progress on intra-Afghan dialogue,” he said, posting pictures of the talks at the US Embassy.

The previous round of peace talks — described by both the militants and the US as “significant” in terms of progress, focused on the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after more than 17 years of war, in return for Taliban pledges not to interfere in Washington’s interests overseas.

Fresh talks are expected to be announced in Doha soon, where the group has maintained an office for several years.

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