US envoy Khalilzad to lead 6-nation large delegation on 6-nation tour for ‘intra-Afghan’ talks

Washington: A senior US diplomat is set to lead a large delegation on a six-nation tour, including Afghanistan, to boost that country’s peace process and bring “all Afghan parties together in an intra-Afghan dialogue,” the US State Department said Sunday.

The statement said Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan who has undertaken extensive recent talks with the Taliban, would head an interagency delegation from February 10 to 28.

It was unclear whether the group had already left at the time of the statement.

The itinerary will take the US delegation to Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the statement said, adding that Khalilzad would “consult with the Afghan government throughout the trip.”

The emphasis on bringing “all Afghan parties together” appeared crucial. US-Taliban peace talks have not included the Afghan government, which the Taliban considers US-backed puppets, and Khalilzad said recently that intra-Afghan negotiations were essential. (Agencies)

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