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U.S. Envoy For Afghanistan On Five-Country Tour To Advance Afghan Peace Process

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

The United States has dispatched its special envoy for Afghanistan on a five-nation tour aimed at advancing a fragile Afghan peace process.

U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad departed on a trip to Doha, Islamabad, Kabul, Oslo, and Sofia, the State Department said in a July 25 statement.

In Doha and Kabul, Khalilzad will “press for resolution of the remaining issues ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations, specifically final prisoner exchanges and reduced violence.”

The Qatari capital has been the location of repeated rounds of U.S. talks with the Taliban.

The United States and Taliban struck an agreement in February intended to pave the way for intra-Afghan peace talks between the militants and the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

Key preconditions for intra-Afghan talks are prisoner exchanges and a reduction of violence. Taliban militants control about half of Afghanistan's territory and they continue to carry out deadly attacks since the U.S.-Taliban deal was signed.

“Although significant progress has been made on prisoner exchanges, the issue requires additional effort to fully resolve,” the State Department said.

Khalilzad will also travel to Pakistan to seek their support in advancing intra-Afghan negotiations.

In Oslo and Sofia, the diplomat will update NATO allies on the Afghan peace process.

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