Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | ePaper

US envoy launches new push on Afghan talks with Taliban

  • Print


Pakistan's Foreign Ministry official Aftab Khokhar (right) escorts visiting Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (center) for talks at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, Pakistan on Sunday. AP file photo

AP, Islamabad  :
Renewed efforts are underway to jumpstart stalled peace talks with the Taliban as a U.S. envoy is in Kabul and Pakistani and Afghan officials are meeting in Islamabad.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says he's holding meetings with Kabul officials on Monday, seeking to bring about a new round of Afghan-to-Afghan talks, which he describes as essential to resolving the country's nearly 18-year war.
The Taliban carry out near-daily attack, inflicting staggering casualties on Afghan forces, and now control about half of Afghanistan. Washington, meanwhile, has accelerated efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict and has been pressing for direct talks between the Taliban and Kabul.
Meanwhile, Afghan and Pakistani officials from a group tasked with finding ways to cooperate on diplomatic, military and intelligence-sharing are meeting in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State group has lost its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan the group is expanding its footprint, recruiting new fighters and plotting attacks on the United States and other Western countries, according to U.S. and Afghan security officials.
Nearly two decades after the U.S.-led invasion, the extremist group is seen as an even greater threat than the Taliban because of its increasingly sophisticated military capabilities and its strategy of targeting civilians, both in Afghanistan and abroad. Concerns run so deep that many have come to see the Taliban, which has also clashed with IS, as a potential partner in containing it.
A U.S. intelligence official based in Afghanistan told The Associated Press that a recent wave of attacks in the capital, Kabul, is "practice runs" for even bigger attacks in Europe and the United States.
"This group is the most near-term threat to our homelands from Afghanistan," the official said on condition of anonymity to preserve his operational security. "The IS core mandate is: You will conduct external attacks" in the U.S. and Europe. "That is their goal. It's just a matter of time," he said. "It is very scary."
Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, sees Afghanistan as a possible new base for IS now that it has been driven from Iraq and Syria. "ISIS has invested a disproportionate amount of attention and resources in Afghanistan," he said, pointing to "huge arms stockpiling" in the east.

More News For this Category

US angers Palestinians with reversal on Israeli settlements

US angers Palestinians with reversal on Israeli settlements

AP, Washington :The Trump administration on Monday said it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be a violation of international law, reversing four decades of American

Kuwait's ruler fires son over feud with fellow minister

Kuwait's ruler fires son over feud with fellow minister

AP, Kuwait City :Kuwait's ruler on Monday fired his own son and another Cabinet minister after they publicly feuded over accusations of corruption, ordering the prime minister to form a

US breaks off defense cost talks amid S Korea backlash over $5b demand

US breaks off defense cost talks amid S Korea backlash over $5b demand

AFP, Seoul : The United States walked out of talks on hiking South Korea's contribution for American troops on its soil, Seoul said Tuesday, as Washington accused its ally of rebuffing

UK PM, Labour leader face off in first election debate

UK PM, Labour leader face off in first election debate

Britain's Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn go head-to-head Tuesday in their first TV debate of the election campaign, facing scrutiny over their plans for Brexit and more public

Kashmir shutdown caused losses of more than $1b: Trade body

Kashmir shutdown caused losses of more than $1b: Trade body

Reuters, Srinagar :Economic losses in Kashmir have run well over a billion dollars since India revoked its autonomy and statehood in August, the main trade body in the Himalayan region

News In Brief

Thousands of Canadian National Railway workers go on strikeReuters, Ottawa About 3,000 workers of Canadian National Railway, the country's largest railroad operator, went on strike on Tuesday, labor union Teamsters

China calls on US to 'stop flexing muscles' in South China Sea

China calls on US to 'stop flexing muscles' in South China Sea

Agencies, Bangkok :China on Monday called on the United States to stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and to avoid adding "new uncertainties" over Taiwan, during high-level

China confirms aircraft carrier sailed through Taiwan Strait

China confirms aircraft carrier sailed through Taiwan Strait

AFP, Beijing :China confirmed on Monday that its first domestically built aircraft carrier had sailed through the Taiwan Strait for "routine" training and tests after Taipei accused Beijing of intimidation

United States, EU back Georgia protesters

United States, EU back Georgia protesters

AFP, Tbilisi :The United States and European Union expressed solidarity Monday with Georgia's anti-government protesters who took to the streets after the ruling party backtracked on promises of electoral reforms.In

‘Women shouldn't feel like second-class citizens,’ says Indra Nooyi

‘Women shouldn't feel like second-class citizens,’ says Indra Nooyi

PTI, Washington :Women must not see themselves as second class citizens and know that they too have arrived on the scene, Indian American business executive and former CEO of PepsiCo