Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Zalmay Khalilzad shake hands after signing an agreement in Doha to reduce violence in Afghanistan [File: Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters]

The US special envoy to Afghanistan is on a mission to press Taliban negotiators in Doha and officials in India and Pakistan to support a reduction in violence, acceleration of intra-Afghan peace talks and cooperation on handling the coronavirus pandemic, the US Department of State said on Wednesday.

Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad’s trip comes amid concerns that surging Taliban attacks and the coronavirus pandemic could deal potentially fatal blows to his stalled efforts to end decades of strife in Afghanistan.

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At each stop, Khalilzad “will urge support for an immediate reduction in violence, accelerated timeline for the start

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