In a statement issued by the US State Department, it was said Khalilzad “will be traveling in the region to advance ongoing US efforts to promote the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations (IAN).”
“The Afghan people are ready for a sustainable reduction in violence and a political settlement that will end the war,” the statement read.
“Afghan leaders must seize this historic opportunity for peace. All sides have taken important steps to remove obstacles for the start of IAN. Now is the time to start.”
Indications point towards the possibility of talks starting this week in Doha, where the Taliban has a political office.
On Saturday, a delegation of Taliban members left Pakistan for Doha after holding talks with Pakistani officials. Later Saturday, the Taliban announced it had decided on its peace talks team members.
Their team will be led by Mawlawi Abdul Hakim – who is believed to be a hardline insurgent cleric and a close confidant of the Taliban’s reclusive chief, Hibatullah Akhundzada.
The Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told VOA the group has “formed a strong and inclusive team for intra-Afghan negotiations. It mostly comprises members of the Rehbari Shoura [Taliban leadership council], and the Islamic Emirate’s [Taliban] chief justice has been appointed as the team leader.”