The new US Secretary of State says Zalmai Khalilzad will continue to serve as the State Department’s special envoy for the Afghan peace process. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Khalilzad’s efforts important in the Afghan peace process.
Asked about possible changes to the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, Mr Blinken said he wanted to know what was in the agreement.
Mr Khalilzad was appointed to the post during the reign of former President Donald Trump. After a year and a half of negotiations on his behalf, the United States signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in Doha on February 9. The agreement was signed with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, deputy head of the Taliban in Qatar and head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
Speaking at his first press conference on the day of his inauguration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he described Zalmai Khalilzad’s role as important.
On the other hand, senior officials in the Biden-led government say they are evaluating Washington’s agreement with the Taliban.
The National Security Agency also said on Friday that Washington wanted to review last year’s peace deal with the Afghan Taliban under former President Donald Trump’s administration.
A statement from the White House said, “The White House wants to make sure that this armed group stands by its commitments, including reducing violence and severing ties with terrorist groups.”
US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan also confirmed the assessment in a telephone conversation with his Afghan counterpart, Hamdullah Mohib, on Friday.
A spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar at the time, Dr Mohammad Naeem, told media that the group was living up to its promises and called on the United States to live up to its promises. He stressed that the Doha Peace Agreement must be implemented bilaterally.
On January 8, the Pentagon said it had reduced the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,000, reducing the number of US troops in the country to 2,500. The decision by the US president and military officials did not go unnoticed by some Republican leaders, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the time that the “uncoordinated and urgent withdrawal of US troops” would come at a heavy price.
But acting Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller confirmed on January 3 that the number of US troops in Afghanistan had been reduced to five thousand. He says this is the lowest number of US troops in the country for 20 years.