Veteran diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday resigned as the United States’ Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, less than two months after US forces withdrew from Afghanistan, AFP reported.
Khalilzad, in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said that he wanted to make way in the “new phase of our Afghanistan policy”. He acknowledged that the political arrangement between the civilian government in Afghanistan and the Taliban “did not go forward as envisaged”.
“The reasons for this are too complex and I will share my thoughts in the coming days and weeks,” he said.
Blinken, in a tweet, thanked Khalilzad for “decades of tireless service to the United States”. He announced that Thomas West, who was Khalilzad’s deputy, will take over the role of the US Special Representative for Afghanistan.
Khalilzad was born in Afghanistan’s city of Mazar-i-Sharif and spent his early years in Kabul. He held diplomatic positions during the tenures of former US Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W Bush, according to BBC.
Khalilzad had led the US’ talks with the Taliban that culminated in the Doha agreement of February 2020, under which Washington agreed to withdraw its troops from the country in 14 months and the Taliban agreed to cut ties with the Al-Qaeda.
Khalilzad, however, faced criticism after the Taliban took over the government in the country and ousted the regime led by former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
On August 31, the last US soldiers left Afghanistan, bringing an end to its 20-year presence in the country.