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Zalmay Khalilzad confirms Taliban talks ‘deceased’

U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad admitted failure of peace talks with the Taliban reportedly calling the process “dead” during a classified briefing to lawmakers in the Congress.

The statement came from Representative Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, at a public hearing after Khalilzad’s appearance on Thursday.

“We’ve learned that the president [Donald Trump] up-ended the deal and we have learned that the peace deal evidently is dead,” Engel said.

The hearing comes weeks after the U.S. president abruptly cancelled peace talks with the Taliban over killing of an American soldier in the Afghan capital Kabul.

According to a tweet by the committee last week, Khalilzad’s appearance was subpoenaed by Engel after the U.S. State Department ”ignored numerous requests for briefings about the Afghanistan peace plan”. 

Afghanistan has been marred by a string of deadly Taliban-claimed attacks following the collapse of peace talks with the U.S. as they continue to reject acknowledging the Afghan government.

Recently, Afghan forces backed by U.S. air power managed to reclaim some territory from the insurgents, resulting in deadly clashes in various pockets of the country claiming many lives on all sides, including civilians.

At least 30 pine nut harvesters were killed and 40 others wounded in a U.S. drone strike early Thursday in eastern Afghanistan close to the Tora Bora mountains. 

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