Writer: Muhammad Arif Sheva
23 May 2019

Khalilzad Briefs U.S. Senate on Afghan Peace Process

The United States Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad faced skepticism Wednesday on Capitol Hill as he briefed lawmakers on peace talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the 18-year war.

It was Khalilzad's first appearance before the Congress since his appointment to lead peace talks with the Taliban by the Trump administration in September; but his efforts have been largely shrouded in secrecy.

Lawmakers were tight-lipped as they left the classified meeting with Khalilzad, but the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Jim Risch of Idaho, says he believes Khalilzad is making progress. However, he added, "the issue always is how much progress, and can you get to the finish line?"

"Would you want it quicker? Yes. Would you want to get there sooner? Yes. But I'm not here to criticize," Risch said. "It's a difficult situation, no question about it," AP reported.

Khalilzad has said that he hopes to broker a "roadmap" for Afghanistan and push through the process in accordance with the principle that "nothing is agreed until everything is agree."

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Maintaining a hectic travel schedule, he has discussed Afghan peace in global meetings in several occasions, as well as politicians in Kabul, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

So far, the meeting has been beating around two major points: the US troops withdrawal still in Afghanistan, and an assurance that the Taliban will not use Afghanistan as springboard for attacks against other nations.

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