FILE - In this March 2009, file photo, Zalmay Khalilzad, special adviser on reconciliation in Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. selection of Khalilzad as special adviser on reconciliation in Afghanistan has raised some hackles in the region, with critics accusing him of marginalizing the country's smaller ethnic groups when he last served as a presidential envoy following the 2001 collapse of the Taliban and champions praising his tough stand on Pakistan. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

New US adviser to Afghanistan raises hackles in region

September 05, 2018 - 1:00 pm

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The choice of Zalmay Khalilzad as a U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan has raised some hackles in the region, with many saying the veteran diplomat's tough stance on Pakistan could hinder his mission to convince a resurgent Taliban to engage in peace talks.

In the past, Khalilzad has called on the U.S. to declare Pakistan a terrorist state, saying it harbors insurgents. The Trump administration has embraced a similar position, recently suspending $300 million in aid to Pakistan, saying it isn't doing enough to eliminate Taliban safe havens on its territory.

But even critics of Pakistan — which denies the allegations — acknowledge it is a pivotal actor in any peace process because of its close ties to the insurgent group.

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