KABUL, Afghanistan — The first visit to Kabul by Washington’s peace envoy since Afghanistan’s squabbling political leadership reached a power-sharing agreement comes amid increased violence blamed mostly on an Islamic State affiliate that has been targeted in stepped-up U.S. bombing.
Zalmay Khalilzad, in a flurry of tweets Thursday, told of his meetings in Doha earlier in the week with Taliban representatives and on Wednesday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and fellow leader Abdullah Abdullah. All were aimed at resuscitating a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February.
Khalilzad returned to Washington late Wednesday.
Khalilzad called for a reduction in violence by all sides in Afghanistan’s protracted conflict that has kept American militarily engaged for 19 years. He also said too much time has been wasted getting to the second and critical phase of the peace deal, which calls for talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan’s political leadership.
Abdullah will head those efforts as part of the deal he signed with Ghani to end their monthslong dispute over who won Afghanistan’s presidential election last September. He conceded the win to Ghani but as part of a power sharing agreement.