MONITORING (SW) – Zalmay Khalilzad has said that the American forces are out, and the war is over for the United States, but this is not the final chapter as the Afghan people face great challenges ahead, including on the economy and security.
Zalmay Khalilzad will leave the post this week after more than three years on the job under both the Trump and Biden administrations. He had been criticised for not pressing the Taliban hard enough in peace talks begun while Trump was president but Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked him for his work, reported AP.
“I extend my gratitude for his decades of service to the American people,” Blinken said of Khalilzad, a former US ambassador to the United Nations and Afghanistan.
Khalilzad had initially planned to leave the job in May after Biden’s announcement that the US withdrawal would be completed before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in September. However, he was asked to stay on and did so.
Khalilzad had served as the special envoy for Afghan reconciliation under both the Trump and Biden administrations since September 2018, when then-secretary of state Mike Pompeo brought him on board to lead negotiations with the Taliban and the Afghan government.