LAHORE - US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad departed for a five-country visit on Friday as Washington presses for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The US State Department said Khalilzad would travel to Doha, Kabul, Islamabad, Oslo and Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. The United States is drawing down its troops in Afghanistan under an agreement struck in February with the Taliban. The agreement aimed to pave the way for formal peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government, and Khalilzad’s task is to try and bring both sides to the table. Khalilzad plans to press for a deal on prisoner exchanges and a reduction in violence, two issues that have hampered progress toward starting peace talks.“Although significant progress has been made on prisoner exchanges, the issue requires additional effort to fully resolve,” the State Department said in its statement.On Wednesday, Khalilzad condemned an attack by the Afghan government forces that killed 45 people, including civilians, in airstrikes against Taliban fighters in a western province bordering Iran.