US Afghan envoy to visit South Asia, Middle East

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. envoy for Afghan reconciliation will visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar with an American delegation later this month, the State Department announced Thursday, amid looming peace talks.

Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad's travel will take place from Nov. 8-20 and will include talks with Afghan officials "and other interested parties to advance the goal of an intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations that include the Taliban and lead to a sustainable peace".

"A sustainable peace requires that all Afghans have a say in their country’s future," the department said.

Khalilzad has been encouraged by steps taken by Kabul and the Taliban towards organizing negotiating teams, the State Department said, noting that Washington "remains committed to a political settlement that results in an end to the war and to the terrorist threat posed to the United States and the world".

Russia-hosted peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban are set to begin Friday for the first direct negotiations between the parties.

Though invited, the U.S. declined to participate, citing “the absence of significant results of the first meeting in Moscow regarding the Afghan peace process”.

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