Zalmay Khalilzad has resigned as the US special envoy for Afghanistan, the State Department confirmed on Monday.
Khalilzad, who was born in Afghanistan, was first appointed as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation by the Trump administration in 2018. His negotiations in Qatar with the Taliban led to the signing of the Doha agreement, which paved the way for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Even though the collapse of the Afghan government was inevitable, many in Washington are blaming Khalilzad for the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
“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 days and weeks, after leaving government service,” Khalilzad wrote in a resignation letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that was obtained by CNN.
For all the heat Khalilzad is getting, the Taliban lived up to their end of the Doha agreement. After the deal was signed in February 2020, the Taliban halted all attacks against US troops in Afghanistan and cooperated closely with the US on the evacuation. Now, the Taliban are calling for diplomatic relations with Washington.
Khalilzad was negotiating with the Taliban until the final days of the US occupation. After the withdrawal was finished, Khalilzad said he reached a last-minute deal in August with the Taliban that was ruined by former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s sudden departure from Afghanistan.
Under the deal, Khalilzad said the Taliban wouldn’t enter the city until the US completed its evacuation. But Ghani unexpectedly fled Afghanistan on August 15th, leaving a security vacuum that caused the Taliban to enter Kabul.
Khalilzad will be replaced by his deputy, Tom West. According to CNN, West recently traveled to Doha with CIA leaders for the first high-level face-to-face meetings with the Taliban since the US withdrawal was completed.
Khalilzad’s foreign policy experience dates all the way back to 1979. As a professor at Columbia University, Khalilzad advised the Carter administration during the early days of US covert assistance to the Afghan mujahideen fighting against the Soviet Union. He joined the State Department in the Reagan administration, where he also advised on Afghanistan policy.
Throughout the 1990s, Khalilzad worked for the RAND Corporation. in 1998, he joined the now-infamous neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century in sending a letter to President Clinton calling for the US to pursue regime change in Iraq. Khalilzad filled various diplomatic posts throughout the Bush administration, serving as the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the UN.
One thought on “Zalmay Khalilzad Resigns as Special Envoy for Afghanistan”
What can be more natural than blaming the diplomat of Afghani ancestry. Simple. Somebody’s fault. Done and dusted.
Eric Prince penned an article in Asia Times, blaming all administrations for not realizing that privatizing warfare is the way to go. Quite an argument.
Where would the army come from?
Anybody with a successful military training and experience would be a good candidate for a much higher paid job, and no national outrage or political risk when such lives are lost. The idea is, pay them more, but no bureaucratic overhead, and small footprint.
A lesson however should be learned from Roman empire and others that followed, that privatized good portions of military, as paying soldiers was expensive.
Commanders thus prioritized looting opportunities in various regions to any military strategy.
Roman empire became rudderless. Byzantine and British took similar paths.
Roman imperial operations were divided among various heads of imperial regional rulers. Money was the motivation for campaigns — not defense. This is how much weaker and technologically backwards “barbarians” managed to finish off the empire by 476.
The remnant on the Bosphorus arose. They continued to be arrogant, and lasted as long as they did due to circumstances not wisdom. When faced with real challenges, they collapsed like a house of cards. Why? As they like Rome before them, did not pay attention to their two natural land masses — Balkans and Asia minor. Engaged in tactical relationships, no true building of mutually beneficial joint defenses with those regions. Those were viewed as inferior, no need to establish true alliances. Byzantine empire was doomed.
British empire made similar moves
War of 1812 with US was a showcase of imperial thinking. Ship commanders being more concerned with captures of ships and extorting concessions from coastal towns, then any strategy aimed at winning the war.
We are heading in that direction. AUKUS is the beginning of NATO fragmentation. France has signed up treaty with Greece along same lines, More members will join. Clearly anti-Turkey, anti-Rusdia, pro-Israel Mediterranean alliance.
Germany and Austria are e likely to get Green infused governments, hard core neocon-style globalists — no tree huggers among them. Clearly, anti-Russia alliance. Will have to first discipline Hungary, and straighten out Balkans. Good luck!
And Eric Prince is volunteering for the cause. And like other empires, US is letting others know that they are not needed. Why bother with India, Korea or Japan — all with pesky national needs that need to be accommodated, when you can get Australia to be your aircraft carrier, and have a comfy alliance of like-minded?
Sure, those countries know now where they stand. All they wanted was less ideological zeal, and more common sense in dealing with China. What does it brings us? China and Russia are taking threats seriously. We cannot say, just kidding.
We, on the other hand, are prioritizing greed, a clear intention to stop Chinese development , weaken it, and soften up for looting. Russia without China could be isolated. Same goals for other decentralized NATO missions.
But will it work as planned. Who is defending the home? Germany may get fed up with loosing opportunities for growth. France may just get chummy with its Med neighborhood, forgetting US interests.
Is maintaining the empire more important, or continental defense, and rethinking the gutted industrial policy at home?
I think with the latest moves, we have an answer. Hopefully, reality may sink in, and we see the light.
Churchill ‘s observation holds. He believed Americans will always do the right thing — after they try everything else.
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