Taliban delegation meets US peace envoy for first time since ‘dead’ Afghanistan peace deal

Kabul: The Taliban met US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in the Pakistan capital for the first time since President Donald Trump declared a seemingly imminent peace deal to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war ‘dead’ a month ago, a Taliban official said early Saturday.

 Taliban delegation meets US peace envoy for first time since dead Afghanistan peace deal

File image of US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. AP

He offered few details of Friday’s meeting between Khalilzad and the Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the movement that was ousted in 2001 by the US-led coalition. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

US officials, however, have been keen to say there is no resumon of peace talks, at least not now in Islamabad.

Still, the meeting is significant as the United States seeks an exit from Afghanistan’s 18-year war.

Khalilzad has been in Islamabad for much of the week meeting with senior government officials in what the US State Department described as follow-up meetings he held in New York during last month’s UN General Assembly session. At the time he met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been calling for a resumon of peace talks.