Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan, has stepped down following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover of the country. The US State Department confirmed Khalilzad’s resignation via a statement issued on Monday.
In the statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Tom West will assume Khalilzad’s position. Blinken added that West would closely interoperate with the US embassy, which was moved to Doha following the Taliban takeover, in accordance with US interests in Afghanistan.
Khalilzad’s intention to resign was firstly reported by CNN, while a source familiar with the issue, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated that Khalilzad submitted his resignation on Friday.
Khalilzad’s resignation has come after he was left out of the Biden administration’s first formal meeting with the Taliban following the US withdrawal, which took place in Doha earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the Taliban interim government issued a statement following the stepping down of the US top envoy to Afghanistan, in which hopes to maintain “good progress” achieved in talks with Khalilzad.
Posting a message on his Twitter account, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson in the Taliban government, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, said, “We are optimistic about moving forward with the new representative Mr. Tom West and full implementation of Doha Agreement will normalize relations between both governments.”