US Afghan peace envoy Khalilzad wraps up Pakistan visit

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The United States‘ envoy trying to resuscitate talks on ending Afghanistan‘s 18-year war has wrapped up his visit to Pakistan as Kabul hardened its stance on negotiations with the Taliban.

Zalmay Khalilzad met Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and other top officials during his two-day visit to the capital, Islamabad. 

“Ambassador Khalilzad discussed the current status of the Afghan peace process and the importance of reducing violence,” the US embassy to Pakistan said in a statement on Wednesday.

“He also underscored the economic and security benefits peace can bring to the region,” the embassy statement added. 

The Afghan government has set new conditions for talks with the Taliban and appeared to shed a previously conciliatory stand towards Pakistan.

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Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s security adviser, said on Tuesday that Kabul wants Pakistan, which says it wants peace, to not incite the conflict in Afghanistan and aid the Taliban.

He also said Kabul insists on a one-month ceasefire as a precondition for talks with the Taliban.

Officials in Pakistan, where the Taliban’s governing council is believed to have its headquarters, have been pushing for a resumption of US-Taliban talks since they collapsed in September after US President Donald Trump declared the negotiations “dead”. 

Trump’s declaration followed a series of violent attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, that killed several people, including a US soldier.

Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan from Afghanistan, where he met leaders including President Ghani, who has mostly dismissed any talks not led by his government.

Khalilzad’s next destination was not immediately known.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/afghan-peace-envoy-khalilzad-wraps-pakistan-visit-191030092022276.html

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