Taliban delegation on its way as U.S. envoy holds talks in Pak.

October 03, 2019 12:00 am | Updated 03:52 am IST - Islamabad

‘Zalmay Khalilzad’s visit is not to resume Afghan peace plan’

Mullah Abdul Ghani BaradarEVGENIA NOVOZHENINA

Mullah Abdul Ghani BaradarEVGENIA NOVOZHENINA

The Taliban announced on Wednesday they are sending a high-level delegation to Pakistan’s capital as part of a tour that has included Russia, China and Iran in a push to resurrect an Afghanistan peace deal with Washington that seemed imminent just a month ago.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and head of their political office in Qatar, will lead the 11-member delegation during talks with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special peace envoy, is also in the Pakistani capital for “consultations” with the Pakistani leadership, a U.S. official said. He spent the last year negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban, which seemed imminent until Sept. 7 when U.S. President Donald Trump declared the deal “dead.”

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mr. Khalilzad is not in Islamabad to resume the peace process.

Rather the U.S. peace envoy will follow up on discussions he held with Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, during the U.N. General Assembly session in New York.

It wasn’t immediately known if Mr. Khalilzad will meet with Taliban leader Baradar.

Mr. Trump ended peace talks after a series of Taliban attacks on the capital Kabul.

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