UN chief hires Afghan envoy

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United Nations

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has announced the appointment of a personal envoy to Afghanistan amid renewed diplomatic efforts to cut a peace deal and end decades of violence in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UN said French diplomat Jean Arnault would lead efforts to advance peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which have failed to make headway despite efforts by the US, Qatar and others in recent years.

The UN move comes as the US Biden administration seeks to break a deadlock in negotiations between the two sides and withdraw its forces from the country by May 1, as was agreed to in a US-Taliban deal last February.

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