Khalilzad lauds Pakistan’s role for supporting Afghan peace

ISLAMABAD: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad called on  Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and praised Pakistan’s role for supporting the Afghan peace process.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), COAS Bajwa and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad discussed Afghan Reconciliation Process among other matters at the GHQ on Monday.

The ISPR said, “Khalilzad arrived in Islamabad earlier today and is being accompanied by a three-member delegation of senior US officials.” A delegation headed by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad called on COAS at the General Headquarters, ISPR said in a statement.

Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq was also present during the meeting. Matters of mutual interest, regional security, and the ongoing Afghan Reconciliation Process were discussed during the meeting, it added.

“The visiting dignitary greatly appreciated Pakistan’s role in the ongoing peace process and said that it could not have succeeded without Pakistan’s sincere and unconditional support,” the statement said.

The army chief said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had given a clear vision regarding peace and connectivity in the region.

“All elements of national power are united towards making that vision a reality to ensure long-awaited peace, progress, and prosperity in the region,” the army chief said.

The development comes hours after the Afghan government ratcheted up pressure for a truce with the Taliban, reiterating calls for a long-term ceasefire during talks.

The two sides are in the early stages of meetings in an effort to hammer out a deal bringing to a close 19 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

Earlier, Abdullah Abdullah, the former chief executive for Afghanistan who is heading the peace process for Kabul, had called for an immediate ceasefire.

He highlighted the 12,000 civilians have been killed and another 15,000 wounded since the US and the Taliban signed a deal in February.

The head of Afghanistan’s peace council Abdullah Abdullah stressed that there is no winner through war. Taliban leader Mullah Baradar Akhund expressed hope that negotiations would move forward with patience.

Both sides said the first discussions on procedural issues have gone much better than expected, but there are deep differences-on many issues such as the timing of a ceasefire, the political system, and the extent of personal freedoms.

Abdullah was joined at the opening ceremony by Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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