Khalilzad Discusses Afghan Peace With Pakistani Officials

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday met with Pakistani officials in Islamabad, including the Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, and discussed the Afghan peace process and the United States efforts for a political settlement in the country, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry officials said on Tuesday. 

In this meeting, the Pakistani Foreign Secretary reiterated his country’s commitment to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said in a tweet.

Khalilzad visited Islamabad as part of his sixth multi-nation visit for Washington’s effort to facilitate a political settlement in Afghanistan.

During his Islamabad visit, Khalilzad exchanged views on the ongoing cooperation for the political settlement and the two sides agreed to remain closely engaged.

Kabul, New Delhi, Islamabad, Moscow, and London are the destinations of Khalilzad, where he will work to build support for the Afghan peace process amongst the international community.

Pakistan also reiterated its support for intra-Afghan dialogues in Afghanistan, according to a statement by Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Pakistan reiterated its support for intra-Afghan dialogue, which is vital to move the process forward,” the statement.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Kabul in a statement on Tuesday said that Ambassador Khalilzad concluded his visit to Islamabad which was from April 29 to 30 where he held discussions with Pakistani leadership on developments in the Afghan peace process.

“Ambassador Khalilzad met Foreign Secretary Mahmood and other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Chief of Army Staff Bajwa and senior military officials,” the statement said.

The statement says that Khalilzad expressed his appreciation for Prime Minister Khan’s recent remarks in support of the peace process and a broader vision for stability and prosperity in the region.

“Ambassador Khalilzad requested and received support for the need to accelerate intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations as well as a reduction in violence, concrete steps necessary for a comprehensive settlement,” the statement adds.

According to the statement, Khalilzad reiterated that an end to the war will bring long overdue peace and stability for Afghans and an independent Afghanistan that precludes it from being used by terrorists to attack the United States or any other country.

He said that peace holds particular significance for the region by facilitating regional economic integration.

Khalilzad said such integration contributes to advancing Prime Minister Khan’s vision for a development-centric transformation of Pakistan, the statement concluded.

Before leaving to Islamabad, Khalilzad in an interview with TOLOnews on April 28 said the United States is seeking peace and political settlement in Afghanistan and that the withdrawal of foreign forces will be conditions-based.

In his “marathon talks” with senior Taliban members in Doha in mid-March, Khalilzad made some “progress” which include agreements in draft on US forces withdrawal and counterterrorism efforts but the US envoy has reiterated that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

This comes after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said Afghanistan certainty needs peace after almost four decades of war as he addressed a gathering of business leaders in Beijing on Sunday, April 28.

Khan said that peace in Afghanistan has a huge impact on Pakistan and Central Asian countries under China’s global Belt and Road Initiative, of which Pakistan and region will benefit.

Back in March Imran Khan said that peace in Afghanistan is “around the corner”, referring to the efforts by the United States for a political settlement to the conflict in the country.

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