KABUL: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday met U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and discussed the way forward in Afghanistan.
“Great meeting with Ambassador Khalilzad to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan: continuing to protect the US against the threat of terrorism, achieving a just and durable political settlement there, and cementing a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” tweeted Blinken.
Khalilzad, who negotiated with the Taliban for 18 months to reach an agreement, has remained on his post under the Biden administration. Analysts say that keeping the U.S. envoy in place demonstrates the Biden team’s initial commitment to maintaining adherence to the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement until the new team reviews it in detail.
“We discussed the focus on our conditions-based strategy, one that brings peace to Afghanistan, secures a stable future for its citizens and prevents anyone from using Afghanistan to threaten the United States and our allies,” said Khalilzad.
This comes as no meeting has been held between the Afghan Republic and the Taliban negotiators in Doha over the last 19 days. Asadullah Saadati, the deputy head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Thursday said the Biden administration will choose peace when it comes to selecting from two options of war and peace strategies in Afghanistan.
“There was a specific timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. It was May… This will also change,” said Saadati.