US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed about the latest developments in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, Pakistan’s Dawn news reported.
Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and democratic Afghanistan, Imran Khan said Islamabad welcomed the recent progress in peace talks between the US and Taliban, it said.
Khalilzad also called on Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Qamar Bajwa at the General Headquarters. “During the meeting matters of mutual interest including overall regional security situation and ongoing Afghan reconciliation process were discussed,” according to Pakistan military media, ISPR.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the Refugee Conference, Ambassador Khalilzad said the US-Taliban agreement would open the door for Afghans to sit across the table and negotiate.
Pakistani’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Khalilzad in a meeting that Pakistan will continue its efforts for a political settlement of the Afghan conflict, Radio Pakistan reported.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan will prepare a comprehensive timeline framework for the honorable repatriation of all Afghan refugees, it said.
Speaking on the occasion, Khalilzad lauded Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace and stability and said Islamabad has hosted Afghan refugees for four decades with an open mind.
The US-Taliban agreement – which has been finalized in principle – will be “signed by both sides at the end of February,” the deputy leader of the group, Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, said in a recorded 3-minute interview published on a pro-Taliban website, nunn.asia, on Monday.
Hanafi said that the US-Taliban talks – which started late in 2018 and continued for 10 rounds, mostly in the Gulf state of Qatar – have ended and both sides are preparing to sign the agreement.
US government officials and Taliban representatives have announced progress with a reduction in violence plan leading up to a signed peace deal and intra-Afghan negotiations and ultimately an enduring peace in the country.
In Kabul, hopes are rising among politicians and the people for progress with a reduction in violence agreement, as Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said on Tuesday that the deal had been “finalized” and it is a “new chapter” for Afghanistan.