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US special envoy Khalilzad embarks on 4-country tour for Afghan peace efforts

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday embarked on a two-week tour of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China for talks with each country’s leadership on the Afghan peace process.

The US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Khalilzad, is leading an intra-agency delegation and will meet officials in each country in order to “facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan”, a handout from the US State Department said.

The envoy’s trip will end on Jan 21.

Read more: Zalmay Khalilzad ─ the blunt veteran US diplomat leading peace efforts in Afghanistan

The press release stressed the US’ desire to reach a “political settlement” to the Afghan conflict and “empower the Afghan people to chart a shared course for their nation’s future”.

“The United States supports the desire of the Afghan people and the international community for a political settlement that ends the 40-year conflict and ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for international terrorism,” the statement added.

It further claimed that the US goal is to “promote dialogue among Afghans” and ensure that all concerned parties reach a solution that will allow “every Afghan citizen [to] enjoy equal rights and responsibilities under the rule of law”.

The US special envoy is actively trying to broker a political solution to the Afghan conflict and has held multiple meetings with the leadership of Afghanistan as well as that of other countries in the region, including Pakistan.

He has also held three round of talks with the Afghan Taliban in order to reach a settlement that would allow the US to withdraw its army and end a 17-year-old war — America’s longest.

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