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US ambassador to Afghanistan resigns

“The Special Representative for Reconciliation in Afghanistan, Jalme Khalilzad, has resigned. I thank him for his many decades of service to the American people,” Blingen said in a statement. His deputy, Thomas West, succeeded Khalilzat.

Khalilzad was the ambassador to Afghanistan under President Donald Trump and his order was renewed by Joe Biden. He was also US Ambassador to Iraq and the United Nations. According to CNN, Khalilzad was originally scheduled to leave in May, but remained in office longer than previously planned.

As special envoy, Khalilzad held talks with the Taliban in Qatar, which led to the Doha agreement with the Trump administration to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by May 2021. According to some experts, the deal paved the way for the capture of the Taliban. As the May deadline approaches, President Biden announces the withdrawal of U.S. troops by September 11, the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.

The Taliban’s offensive gained momentum in the summer and within a few weeks the Islamists were able to control most of the country. After President Ashraf Ghani left the country in August, the Taliban came to power.

After seizing power, the United States and other Western nations made a chaotic exit from Kabul airport. Shortly before the end of the U.S. evacuation mission, 13 American soldiers and dozens of Afghans were killed in an attack on the airport. President Biden has come under a lot of pressure since the US withdrew from Afghanistan.

Khalilzad had previously expressed dissatisfaction with the state of Afghanistan, but according to US government sources from Reuters, he himself was the face of American diplomatic defeat in Afghanistan. He said a month ago that the deal with the Taliban had failed after President Ashraf Ghani left his country in August. According to the ambassador, the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan may have been avoided.

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