Home World Faulted For Hasty Withdrawal, US Envoy On Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad Quits

Faulted For Hasty Withdrawal, US Envoy On Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad Quits


Faulted For Hasty Withdrawal, US Envoy On Afghanistan Khalilzad Quits

Afghanistan: The United States forces left Afghanistan on August 31. (File)

Washington:

Zalmay Khalilzad, the veteran US envoy whose months of hotel-ballroom diplomacy helped end the US war in Afghanistan but failed at preventing a Taliban takeover, resigned on Monday.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Khalilzad defended his record but acknowledged that he came up short and said he wanted to make way during the “new phase of our Afghanistan policy.”

“The political arrangement between the Afghan government and the Taliban did not go forward as envisaged,” he wrote.

“The reasons for this are too complex and I will share my thoughts in the coming day and weeks.”

Born in Afghanistan, the dapper 70-year-old academic turned US diplomat took senior positions under former president George W. Bush, becoming the US ambassador to Kabul and then Baghdad and the United Nations.

As former president Donald Trump itched to end America’s longest war in Afghanistan, he brought back Khalilzad, who led exhaustive talks with the Taliban — without including the US-backed government in Kabul.

Those talks led to a February 2020 agreement in which US troops would leave the following year.

But peace negotiations between the Taliban and the leadership in Kabul failed to gain traction, and the government that the United States built over 20 years crumbled within days as US troops left.

Khalilzad, despite his Republican affiliation, was kept in place when Democratic President Joe Biden defeated Trump and decided to go ahead with the withdrawal.

Khalilzad soon became a lightning rod for criticism, with even his superiors in the Biden administration — while voicing respect for him personally — faulting the diplomacy behind the 2020 agreement.

Blinken said that Khalilzad’s deputy, Thomas West, would take over as the special envoy.

West is a veteran aide to President Joe Biden, serving on his staff when he was vice president. West has worked for years on South Asia policy including on the US-India civilian nuclear deal.

Khalilzad also courted US adversaries China and Russia, succeeding in reaching public statements in which the countries would show a united front.

Shortly before Khalilzad’s resignation became public, the State Department said the United States would not be able to attend a new session called Tuesday by Russia that also includes China and Pakistan, historically the Taliban’s primary backer.

Rare US figure

Steeped in Afghanistan’s language and customs, Khalilzad was a rare US diplomat able to develop a friendly rapport with the Taliban foes whose regime had been ousted after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

After Trump ended US opposition to speaking to the Taliban, Khalilzad engineered the release from a Pakistani jail of the group’s co-founder Mullah Baradar, seen as a figure who could deliver on promises, and spent months with the largely rural rebels in a luxury hotel in the Qatari capital Doha.

But pictures of him smiling with the Taliban earned him heated criticism in Kabul where some in the now-fallen government as well as Western-oriented social media users berated him and accused him of selling out Afghanistan.

In an interview last month, Khalilzad said that he had reached a deal with the Taliban in which the Islamist insurgents would stay out of Kabul and negotiate a political transition.

But Khalilzad said that the deal collapsed when president Ashraf Ghani fled the country and the Taliban saw a security vacuum.

Speaking to Foreign Policy, Khalilzad said that the Taliban fulfilled key parts of the February 2020 agreement including not attacking the departing US troops.

“I respect those who say we shouldn’t have negotiated with the Talibs without the government being there. But we don’t know how much more fighting would have taken for the Talibs to agree to that,” he said.

But with no appetite in the United States for another surge of troops in its longest war, “each year we were losing ground to the Talibs,” he said.

“Time was not on our side.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

China’s Taiwan Jet Incursions At Second-Highest Level In November

<!-- -->Beijing has ramped up pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.Taipei, Taiwan: Chinese warplanes made 159 incursions...

CNN Suspends Anchor Chris Cuomo, Says He Helped His Brother, New York Ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo

<!-- -->Chris Cuomo is under scrutiny for his involvement in his brother's defense.New York, United States: CNN said Tuesday it had indefinitely suspended...

Joe Biden To Review Travel Ban Over ‘Omicron’ Weekly

<!-- -->Omicron Variant: US President Joe Biden said he would decide on a weekly basis on travel ban. (File)Washington: President Joe Biden on...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

How Indian Games Ludo Star, Parchisi Star Built an Audience of Six Million Players Every Day

Gameberry Labs, an Indian gaming startup, is making massive headway globally with two of its popular mobile games – Ludo Star and Parchisi...

Peru Archeologists Find Mummy Up To 1,200 Years Old

<!-- -->The remains are thought to be of a man aged 18-22 at the time of his death.Lima, Peru: Archeologists in Peru working...

Arrivals “Smooth”, Says Delhi Airport As New Rules Over Omicron Begin

<!-- -->In Delhi, positive travellers will be shifted to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital.New Delhi: The Delhi airport tweeted this morning that operations...

China’s Taiwan Jet Incursions At Second-Highest Level In November

<!-- -->Beijing has ramped up pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.Taipei, Taiwan: Chinese warplanes made 159 incursions...

Recent Comments