US Afghan Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad Steps Down
© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTU.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad testifies about the potential withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan at a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. May 18, 2021.
Khalilzad said now was the right time to resign as the United States enters a "new phase" in Afghanistan after its full withdrawal from the country in August.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has resigned from his post, saying in his resignation letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he will soon share his thoughts on why the political arrangement between the former Afghan government and the Taliban* failed and what he believes should happen next.
"The political arrangement between the Afghan government and the Taliban did not go forward as envisaged," Khalilzad said in the letter on Monday. "The reasons for this are too complex and I will share my thoughts in the coming days and weeks, after leaving government service."
Moreover, Khalilzad said although the Afghans failed to make use of the opportunity to end the 40-year conflict, the outcome does not mark the final chapter in the country.
The ambassador pointed out that the Afghan interim government and the Afghan people now face many challenges as the economy is facing a crisis and they struggle to develop stability in the country.
Khalilzad helped negotiate the Doha deal with the Taliban in 2020 under the Trump administration and has been on the receiving end of criticism for giving up too many concessions.
In 2019, former Afghan national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib accused the Trump administration of trying to unseat former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and replace him with Khalilzad.