Zalmay Khalilzad speaks during a debate at Tolo TV channel in Kabul, Afghanistan. File photo/ Reuters
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday his team was taking “a brief pause” from talks with the Taliban after an attack on a crucial US base this week.
Khalilzad had renewed talks with Taliban negotiators earlier this month on steps that could lead to a ceasefire and a settlement of the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan. But Taliban suicide bombers targeted a key US military base on Wednesday. The attack on Bagram base killed two civilians and wounded more than 70 others.
“I met Talibs today, I expressed outrage about attack on Bagram,” Khalilzad wrote on Twitter, adding “we’re taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic.”
The move, days after US President Donald Trump cancelled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat, came as the movement looks to bolster regional support, with visits also planned for China, Iran and Central Asian states.
The flurry of activity — including Taliban visits to Iran and Moscow, and a planned trip to Turkey — comes as the Afghan government’s negotiating team warned this week that if the Taliban fail to resume the talks, the government could recall its team from Doha.
US and Taliban officials will on Tuesday resume talks in Qatar aimed at ending Afghanistan’s 18-year war, hours after a delegation of Afghan citizens and the militants ended a meeting with both sides
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