By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - The U.S. representative for Afghanistan reconciliation met with top Afghan officials in Kabul on Thursday as part of his latest trip of shuttle diplomacy in the region.
This is Zalmay Khalilzad’s third trip to his country of birth over the last few weeks, signifying the urgency in Washington to end the longest American war.
In a statement, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani appreciated Khalilzad’s efforts for peace and said the Kabul government has formed its negotiations team for the proposed talks.
“Our will for ensuring peace in Afghanistan is serious,” Ghani said as quoted in a statement, adding that joint efforts can help Afghanistan achieve lasting peace.
On the diplomat’s side, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a statement, noting Khalilzad’s discussion with Afghan officials centered on his regional engagement and Kabul’s preparations for negotiations to reach a political settlement to the conflict.
The embassy announced the special representative left for Moscow for discussions on regional peace efforts.
This is the first time the U.S. diplomat has included Russia, charged by some Afghan officials of supporting the Taliban -- a claim rejected by Moscow--, in his itinerary.