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Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, listens to speakers during a panel discussion on Afghanistan at the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

(reuters_tickers)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to soon tap Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born former U.S. ambassador to Kabul and Baghdad, as his special envoy on Afghanistan, two U.S. officials said, the latest signal to the Taliban that Washington is serious about talks to end its longest war.

The decision to tap Khalilzad, a Republican and foreign policy veteran, follows a reported meeting last month between a U.S. diplomat and Taliban officials to explore possible negotiations.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; editing by Yara Bayoumy and G Crosse)

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Reuters