Islamabad, Jan 9 (AP) The Afghan president’s special peace envoy has expressed hopes the war that has ravaged Afghanistan for over 17 years and cost the United States about USD 1 trillion will end in 2019.

Mohammad Omer Daudzai summed up his optimism in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, saying: “We are naming 2019 as a year of peace for Afghanistan.” However, he cautioned there won’t be peace until the Taliban, who have held several rounds of talks with Washington’s special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, agree to direct talks with the Afghan government.

So far, the insurgents have refused.

Khalilzad is on a new tour of the region and will travel to India, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This time he isn’t expected to visit Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office. (AP) MRJ MRJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.