Khalilzad steps down as US withdraws from Afghanistan talks

Khalilzad steps down as US withdraws from Afghanistan talks


The particular US envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has resigned, admitting his shortcomings. His deputy Thomas West would exchange him.

The resignation comes as the USA has withdrawn from a session referred to as by Russia on the way forward for Afghanistan.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Khalilzad defended his document however acknowledged that he got here up quick and stated he wished to step apart through the “new part of our Afghanistan coverage.”

“The political association between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban didn’t go ahead as envisaged,” he wrote.

“The explanations for this are too complicated and I’ll share my ideas within the coming day and weeks.”

Born in Afghanistan, the dapper 70-year-old educational turned US diplomat took senior positions as a part of the interior circle of former president George W. Bush, turning into the US ambassador to Kabul after which Baghdad and the United Nations.

As former president Donald Trump itched to finish America’s longest battle in Afghanistan, he introduced again Khalilzad, who led exhaustive talks with the Taliban — with out together with the US-backed authorities in Kabul.

These talks led to a February 2020 settlement wherein US troops would go away the next 12 months.

However peace negotiations between the Taliban and the management in Kabul failed to achieve traction, and the federal government that the USA constructed over 20 years crumbled inside days as US troops left.

Uncommon US determine

Steeped in Afghanistan’s language and customs, Khalilzad was a uncommon US diplomat capable of develop a cordial rapport with Taliban leaders whose regime was toppled by the USA after the September 11, 2001 assaults over its welcome to Al-Qaeda.

Khalilzad, regardless of his Republican affiliation, was stored in place when Democratic President Joe Biden defeated Trump and determined to go forward with the withdrawal.

Khalilzad quickly turned a lightning rod for criticism, with even his superiors within the Biden administration — whereas voicing respect for him personally — faulting the diplomacy behind the 2020 settlement.

Blinken stated that Khalilzad’s deputy, Thomas West, would take over because the particular envoy.

West is a longtime aide to Biden, serving on his workers when he was vice chairman. West has labored for years on South Asia coverage together with on the US-India civilian nuclear deal.

US backtracks from Afghanistan talks

Shortly earlier than Khalilzad’s resignation turned public, the State Division stated the USA wouldn’t be capable to attend a brand new session referred to as Tuesday by Russia that additionally consists of China and Pakistan, traditionally the Taliban’s main backer.

Russian peace envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov had introduced final week that his nation would host the USA, China and Pakistan ” to work out a standard place on the altering state of affairs in Afghanistan.”

The Taliban confirmed their participation quickly afterwards. Taliban’s overseas ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi tweeted that Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy of the council of ministers within the Taliban authorities, will lead the delegation within the assembly.

“We stay up for participating in that discussion board going ahead, however we’re not ready to participate this week,” state division spokesman Ned Value instructed reporters on Monday.

‘Time not on our facet’

After Trump ended US opposition to talking to the Taliban, Khalilzad was instrumental in Doha talks between the US and the Taliban.

However footage of him smiling with the Taliban earned him heated criticism in Kabul the place some within the now-fallen authorities in addition to newly Western-oriented elite berated him and accused him of promoting out Afghanistan.

In interviews final month, Khalilzad stated that he had reached a cope with the Taliban wherein the insurgents would keep out of Kabul and negotiate a political transition.

However Khalilzad stated the deal collapsed when president Ashraf Ghani fled the nation on August 15 and the Taliban noticed a safety vacuum.

Chatting with International Coverage, Khalilzad stated that the Taliban fulfilled key components of the February 2020 settlement together with not attacking the departing US troops.

“I respect those that say we shouldn’t have negotiated with the Talibs with out the federal government being there. However we don’t understand how far more combating would have taken for the Talibs to comply with that,” he stated.

However with no urge for food in the USA for one more surge of troops in its longest battle, “every year we had been shedding floor to the Talibs,” he stated.

“Time was not on our facet.”

Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington who’s now a senior fellow on the Hudson Institute, stated that Khalilzad failed in that he “equated US withdrawal with peace.”

“Khalilzad handed the keys of Kabul to the Taliban in return for guarantees everybody knew the Taliban wouldn’t maintain,” Haqqani stated.

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