U.S. Envoy Plays Down Tensions With Kabul, Hopes For Peace This Year

The U.S. envoy seeking a peace deal with the Taliban has played down recent tensions with the Western-backed Kabul government, telling RFE/RL that he hopes 2019 will be the "year of peace." In an interview in the Afghan capital on April 1, Zalmay Khalilzad said there was a "chance and readiness for peace." Khalilzad has held several rounds of peace talks with the militant group in Qatar. But the Afghan government has complained it is being left out of the negotiations, with the Taliban refusing to deal with what they call a "U.S. puppet." A rift between Kabul and Washington over the talks with the Taliban erupted into public view in March, when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's national-security adviser harshly criticized Khalilzad, an Afghan-born veteran U.S. diplomat.................

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