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VOA News 211018_07pm

VOA 2-min news 211018_07pm

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VOA 2-min news 211018_07pm



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This is VOA News. Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton.

The US State Department says top US envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, is stepping down, less than two months after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover of the country.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Khalilzad will be replaced by his deputy, Tom West. He said West will work closely with the United States Embassy, now based in Doha, on US interests in Afghanistan.

A person familiar with the matter said, on condition of anonymity, that Khalilzad submitted his resignation on Friday.

He has held the post since 2018, during the Trump Administration, and was not included in the Biden administration's first formal talks with the Taliban after the US pull-out.

Those talks were held in Doha earlier in October.

Khalilzad has not yet commented on the State Department's announcement. Khalilzad was born in Afghanistan. He spearheaded the US negotiations with the Taliban that led to a February 2020 agreement for the withdrawal of US forces this year.

After the deal with the Taliban was done, he pressed the Taliban and then Afghan government to negotiate a political settlement to decades of strife.

Instead, the government collapsed in mid-August, as the Taliban swept through the country and marched into Kabul unopposed.

Ethiopia's military launched airstrikes on the capital of the war-battered Tigray region on Monday. A hospital official said the strikes killed at least three people including children.

The government had initially dismissed reports about the bombardments on Mekelle as an absolute lie. But state media later confirmed the air force had struck Tigray People’s Liberation Front targets. That's the name of the rebel group, the TPLF.

This is VOA news.

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