By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is on a two-day visit to Pakistan to brief the country’s leaders about his latest negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.
“We will go to any extent for Afghan peace,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a meeting with the U.S. envoy, according to a Pakistani official. The country’s state-run media said Khalilzad praised Islamabad’s role in facilitating the peace process.
Pakistan and its spy agency, which are often accused of harboring Afghan militants, are said to have considerable influence on the group. Khalilzad last week resumed talks with Taliban negotiators in the Qatari capital, Doha, where the insurgents maintain a political office.
The talks were the first direct contact between the sides since U.S. President Donald Trump three months ago halted negotiations to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan. But Khalilzad said the negotiations were taking a “brief pause” after the Taliban on December 11 staged an attack on the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters struck near the Bagram Airfield, killing at least two Afghan civilians and wounding more than 70 other people, including five Georgian soldiers.
The restart of talks in Doha followed Trump’s surprise Thanksgiving visit to see U.S. troops in Afghanistan on November 28, when he voiced hope that “the Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them.”