Latest Zalmay Khalilzad News

Family members cry after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Gunmen stormed a religious gathering of Afghanistan's minority Sikhs in their place of worship in the heart of the Afghan capital's old city on Wednesday, a minority Sikh parliamentarian said. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Islamic State gunman kills 25 in attack on Sikhs in Kabul

Mar. 25, 2020 8:34 PM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A lone Islamic State gunman rampaged through a Sikh house of worship in the heart of the Afghan capital Wednesday, killing 25 worshippers and wounding eight, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said. The gunman held many worshippers hostage for several hours while Afghan special...

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, stands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 23, 2020. Pompeo was in Kabul on an urgent visit Monday to try to move forward a U.S. peace deal signed last month with the Taliban, a trip that comes despite the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when world leaders and statesmen are curtailing official travel. (Afghan Presidential Palace via AP)

US slashes aid to Afghanistan after Pompeo visit to Kabul

Mar. 23, 2020 7:42 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is slashing $1 billion in assistance to Afghanistan and threatening further reductions in all forms of cooperation after the country's rival leaders failed to agree on forming a new government. The decision to cut the aid was made on Monday by Secretary of State...

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, opens his coat after a few rockets are fired during his speech after being sworn, at his inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 9, 2020. To reassure his supporters, Ghani threw open his jacket saying he wasn't even wearing a bullet proof vest. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Afghans set to release 1,500 Taliban; US wants less violence

Mar. 11, 2020 1:20 PM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — After a series of delays, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree early Wednesday promising to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture to get intra-Afghan negotiations started. A recent peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban called for the...

In this Monday, March 9, 2020, photo, Afghanistan's Abdullah Abdullah, front left, greets his supporters after being sworn in as president in Kabul, Afghanistan. Washington moved forward Tuesday on its peace deal with the Taliban, launching its troop withdrawal, while praising Afghanistan's newly installed President Ashraf Ghani's promise to proceed with a Taliban prisoner release as well as cobble together a team to start negotiations with the insurgent group. But the dueling presidential inaugurations a day earlier with Ghani's rival, Abdullah Abdullah also being sworn in as president is indicative of the uphill task facing Washington's peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad as he tries to get Afghanistan's bickering leadership to come together.  (AP Photo)

US starts troop pullout, seeks end to Afghan leaders' feud

Mar. 10, 2020 8:53 AM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United States began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Tuesday, taking a step forward on its peace deal with the Taliban while also praising Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's promise to start releasing Taliban prisoners after he had delayed for over a...

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks after he was sworn in at an inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Dueling Afghan leaders both declare themselves president

Mar. 9, 2020 6:30 PM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's rival leaders were each sworn in as president in separate ceremonies on Monday, throwing plans for negotiations with the Taliban into chaos and creating a dilemma for the United States as it figures out how to move its peace deal with the Taliban forward. The...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, March, 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Pompeo: Afghan violence must ease for peace deal to advance

Mar. 5, 2020 10:59 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump said he had a “very good talk” with a Taliban leader and insisted the militants want to end the violence, a U.S. military drone targeted the group in retaliation for an uptick in attacks against Afghan forces. It made clear the...

FILE - In this Monday, March 2, 2020 file photo, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, left, speaks  during a briefing with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, at the Pentagon in Washington. The U.S. military said Wednesday, March 4, 2020, that it has conducted an airstrike against Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, only days after American and Taliban officials signed an ambitious peace deal in Doha, Qatar. A U.S. military spokesman said in a tweet Wednesday that it was the first U.S. strike against the militant group in 11 days. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

US strikes Taliban forces, in first hit since peace deal

Mar. 4, 2020 6:04 AM EST

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. conducted Wednesday its first airstrike against Taliban forces in Afghanistan since signing an ambitious peace deal with the militant group. U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a tweet that the “defensive” strike was the first U.S. attack...

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he leaves the White House, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Washington, to visit the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump says he spoke to a Taliban leader, had 'good talk'

Mar. 3, 2020 10:17 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he spoke on the phone to a Taliban leader, making him the first U.S. president believed to have ever spoken directly with the militant group responsible for the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops in nearly 19 years of fighting in Afghanistan. ...

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, right, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, speaks during a joint news conference in presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. The U.S. is poised to sign a peace agreement with Taliban militants on Saturday aimed at bringing an end to 18 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan and allowing U.S. troops to return home from America's longest war. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Pentagon sees Taliban deal as allowing fuller focus on China

Mar. 1, 2020 11:44 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration's peace deal with the Taliban opens the door for an initial American troop withdrawal that Defense Secretary Mark Esper sees as a step toward the broader goal of preparing for potential future war with China. Esper has his eye on “great power...

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March, 1, 2020. Ghani said Sunday he won't be releasing the 5,000 prisoners the Taliban say must be freed before intra-Afghan negotiations can begin. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Afghan peace deal hits first snag over prisoner releases

Mar. 1, 2020 7:17 AM EST

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's president said Sunday that he will not free thousands of Taliban prisoners ahead of all-Afghan power-sharing talks set for next week, publicly disagreeing with a timetable for a speedy prisoner release laid out just a day earlier in a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement....