US ropes in veteran diplomat for peace efforts in Afghanistan

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Washington: The US has roped in veteran diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table and help America with the reconciliation efforts in the war-torn country.

Khalilzad, 67, Afghan-born former US ambassador in Kabul, is well known in the region and is highly respected across communities and stakeholders in the country.

The latest move, announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is expected to give a big boost to the reconciliation efforts in the war-ravaged country.

Talking to reporters travelling with him hours before landing in Pakistan, Pompeo announced that Khalilzad has been named as a special adviser on seeking reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“Khalilzad is going to join the State Department team to assist us on the reconciliation effort, so he will come on and be the State Department’s lead person for that purpose,” Pompeo said.

The task of Khalilzad is going to be working with top officials of the South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department and focus on developing opportunities to get the Afghans and Taliban to come to a reconciliation, Pompeo said.

“That will be his singular mission statement,” he said. PTI