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Thursday / November 21.

U.S. envoy to visit Qatar, Afghanistan for peace talks

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad speaks during a debate at Tolo TV channel in Kabul, Afghanistan April 28, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. special envoy will travel to Qatar and Afghanistan on Tuesday to resume peace talks with the Taliban and the Afghan government, the State Department said, as the United States seeks a resolution that will enable it to withdraw American troops from the country.

The U.S. special representative to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will resume talks with the Taliban in Doha “as part of an overall effort to facilitate a peace process that ends the conflict in Afghanistan,” the department said in a statement. 

He will consult with leaders of the Afghan government in Kabul and encourage negotiations between the two sides, it said.

Khalilzad briefed President Donald Trump on Friday on the status of negotiations with the Taliban on a U.S. troop pullout from Afghanistan and the potential for a political settlement between the warring sides.

Trump said on Sunday that Washington was having “very good discussions” with both the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Trump, who has repeatedly questioned the billions of dollars spent in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has made no secret of his desire to pull out of Afghanistan after 19 years of war triggered by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Lesley Wroughton

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via Reuters