20:22 GMT03 June 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad travels to Kabul and Doha for meetings with Afghanistan government and the Taliban opposition movement in an effort to jumpstart the political process in the country, the State Department said in a statement on Monday.

    "Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad departed on May 17 for travel to Doha and Kabul", the statement said. "In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will meet with Taliban representatives to discuss implementation of the US-Taliban agreement and press for steps necessary to commence intra-Afghan negotiations, including a significant reduction of violence".

    In Kabul, he will meet with senior government officials to explore steps the Afghan government needs to take to make intra-Afghan negotiations begin as soon as possible.

    The meeting comes in the wake of deadly attacks carried out on 12 May on the funeral procession of the Khewa district's police chief Haji Sheikh Ikram in Nangarhar province and on a hospital in the Dasht-e-Barchi district in Kabul. The incident at the hospital took place when gunmen broke into the facility after conducting a bombing attack at the entrance, killing 14 people and injuring 15 others. The attack on the funeral procession killed 24 people and injured 68 others.

    On 29 February, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement following months of talks. It came on the heels of a pact to reduce violence between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The peace agreement's main premises are the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and the launch of intra-Afghan peace talks, subject to a mutual exchange of prisoners.

    There has been little progress to the peace process ever since, chiefly due to an internal power crisis in Kabul and disruptions during the prisoners' swap.

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    meeting, talks, Afghanistan, United States
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