U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan Not Going to Kabul

ISLAMABAD (AP) -
U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani/File Photo)

The U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will not be going to the Afghan capital, Kabul, while in the region on his latest peace mission because of the dangers presented by the coronavirus, and instead will video conference with Afghan leaders, the U.S. State Department said.

Afghanistan’s dilapidated health system is grappling with the pandemic, with the number of infections thought to far outnumber the official tally of over 31,000 cases, including 733 deaths.

Khalilzad, who was in the Uzbek capital Tashkent on Tuesday, will be traveling to Pakistan later in the day or early Wednesday before meeting with Taliban officials in Qatar, where they have a political office.

The coronavirus infection rate in Pakistan has been climbing steadily, with 209,336 cases recorded as of Tuesday and more than 4,300 deaths.