KABUL (Pajhwok): Top United States envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has stepped down, the State Department announced on Tuesday.
Khalilzad will be replaced by his deputy, Tom West, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Monday, noting that West will work closely with the US embassy, which is now based in Doha, on US interests in Afghanistan.
“As Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad steps down from his role, I extend my gratitude for his decades of service to the American people,” Blinken’s statement said.
“I thank Ambassador Khalilzad for his service and welcome Special Representative West to the role.”
A person familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity that Khalilzad submitted his resignation on Friday.
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Khalilzad defended his record but acknowledged that he came up short and said he wanted to make way during the “new phase of our Afghanistan policy”.
“The political arrangement between the Afghan government and the Taliban did not go forward as envisaged,” he was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
“The reasons for this are too complex and I will share my thoughts in the coming day and weeks.”