As violence in Afghanistan shows no sign of abating, Afghan-American diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, he departed on a three nations’ tour in the Middle East and Asia, starting in Qatar, in a bid to secure support for the peace process in Afghanistan, ANI News reports.
Khalilzad said in a tweet that he returns to the region to continue the diplomacy in pursuit of a peace agreement between Afghanistan and the Taliban, pointing that the only solution is a negotiated settlement.
Khalilzad would also visit Pakistan and Uzbekistan, as the US State Department informed, to engage in determined diplomacy, noting in a message on Twitter that while the US military engagement in Afghanistan is coming to an end, its commitment to Afghanistan was not.
After the US troops’ withdrawal last week, the Taliban has been making significant territorial gains across Afghanistan.
Khalilzad has lashed out at the Taliban claiming they’re intensifying their violence in pursuit of leverage at the negotiating table with Afghan government, but claims that there is no military solution to the Afghan crisis. He said he’s taken aback by the degree the Taliban have advanced although he expected the war in Afghanistan to intensify after US withdrawal.
According to the State Department’s release, Khalilzad will work with all parties and with regional and international stakeholders to further advance a consensus on a political settlement as part of the US ongoing support of the peace process.