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US' Afghan envoy visits region to discuss Taliban peace

US' Afghan envoy visits region to discuss Taliban peace
Zalmay Khalilzad to travel to Qatar after departing Turkey, will also visit unspecified nations

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US special envoy to end the conflict in Afghanistan said Thursday he will travel to the region to build international support to bring the nearly 20-year war to an end.

Zalmay Khalizad said after visiting Turkey he would depart for Qatar "to see how best we can help the sides build on the success of their recent agreement on rules and procedures and make quick progress on a political roadmap and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire."

Several rounds of intra-Afghan talks involving the government and the hardline Taliban group have been hosted by Doha as part of US efforts to end hostilities and withdraw American forces from Washington's longest conflict.

Kabul and Taliban representatives reached a preliminary deal Wednesday to resume dialogue.

Khalizad visited Ankara earlier Thursday where he met Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin to discuss ending the conflict. Kalin said Turkey will continue to support and contribute to an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political solution in the war-torn country.

The US diplomat tweeted he would also "be traveling in the region to garner more international support for the #AfghanPeaceProcess," but he did not elaborate where he is planning to visit.

US President Donald Trump has ordered the military to draw down its presence to 2,500 service members by Jan. 15, just five days before he is set to leave office. He has long pushed for a full withdrawal of US forces.

source: News Feed
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