The peace agreement in Afghanistan, already stalled by delays in the release of Taliban prisoners and by a political stalemate in Kabul, is increasingly being defined and constricted by the coronavirus crisis.
The U.S. peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, fired off a series of Twitter posts this week that cited the coronavirus as both an impediment to negotiations and a reason to urgently resolve political differences.
“It’s time for Afghans to compromise,” one of Mr. Khalilzad’s posts read. In another, he wrote, “coronavirus makes prisoner releases urgent.”
Mr. Khalilzad also acknowledged that disruptions triggered by coronavirus measures have made face-to-face negotiations increasingly difficult.
“Coronavirus and the resulting travel restrictions likely requires virtual engagement now,” he wrote.
Already, President Ashraf Ghani, 70, is spending time in self-imposed isolation in his private residence at the palace complex in Kabul. The palace Facebook site posted photos of Mr. Ghani alone at home, conferring with cabinet ministers and aides by video link.
Reporting and research were contributed by Michael Cooper, Alan Blinder, Katie Rogers, Maggie Haberman, Emily Cochrane, Andy Newman, Kenneth P. Vogel, Catie Edmondson, Jesse Drucker, Raphael Minder, Elaine Yu, Motoko Rich, Elian Peltier, Megan Specia, Marc Santora, Elisabetta Povoledo, Katie Robertson, Aurelien Breeden, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, Sui-Lee Wee, Katrin Bennhold, Richard Pérez-Peña, Tim Arango, Jill Cowan, Jim Tankersley, Alan Rappeport, Maya Salam, David Zucchino, Isabella Kwai and Dan Barry.