‘Con-man’: Afghans on outgoing US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad
Afghan leaders and civilians have lashed out at Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States’ Afghanistan-born special envoy to their country, after he stepped down from the role on Monday, nearly two months after the US exited the war-torn nation to conclude its two-decade-long military presence in the country.
Taking to Twitter, Rahmatullah Nabil, the former chief of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) called Khalilzad a con-man. “Finally, he has been expelled from the scene after dragging Afghanistan into an irreversible catastrophe,” Nabil tweeted.
Meanwhile, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, a former Afghan foreign minister, called Khalilzad out for his “destructive role in a shameful process.” Spanta tweeted: “In this process, he had the support of some naïve politicians and chauvinist circles. Now, we are confronted with a bunch of violent anti-civilised hurdles.”
Residents of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital which was overrun by the Taliban on August 15, too, accused the outgoing US special envoy of taking the country into its current crisis. “Khalilzad betrayed us. He brought us into this crisis,” TOLO News quoted a resident of the city as saying. “His mission was a failure. For us, he is evil, and the current bad situation has resulted due to his actions,” another resident said.
Khalilzad, 70, who was born in Mazar-i-Sharif, was the US’ Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, a post he was appointed to by then-President Donald Trump in September 2018. Also a former American ambassador to that country, he negotiated the February 2020 accord with the Taliban, which eventually led to the departure of the US-led international forces. The US completed its own troop pull-out on August 30, a day before self-imposed deadline.
Khalilzad will be succeeded by his deputy Thomas West, a member of President Joe Biden’s national security team when Biden was vice president under Barack Obama.
(With inputs from ANI)