US Envoy to Afghanistan Quits, Says Withdrawal 'Did Not Go As Well as Envisaged'

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United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad stepped down from his post on Monday, 18 October. The resignation comes nearly two months after militant organisation Taliban's ascent to power in Afghanistan following the retreat of the US troops that had been stationed in the country for 20 years.

In his resignation letter to US State Secretary Antony Blinken, Khalilzad observed that, "I decided now is the right time to do so (step down), at a juncture when we are entering a new phase in our Afghanistan policy," news agency AFP reported.

"The political arrangement between the Afghan government and the Taliban did not go forward as envisaged. The reasons for this are too complex and I will share my thoughts in the coming day and weeks," he noted in the letter.

The President Joe Biden-led US government had received widespread international censure for the army withdrawal which had pushed Afghanistan into a humanitarian crisis. Khalilzad had borne the brunt of the criticism.

"Thank you to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for decades of tireless service to the United States. Pleased to welcome Thomas West to the role of Special Representative for Afghanistan," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet.

Born in Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad had been appointed as the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation on 21 September 2018. Khalilzad has also served as US permanent representative to the United Nations (2007-2009), ambassador to Iraq (2005-2007), and ambassador to Afghanistan (2003-2005).

(With inputs from AFP)

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