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US envoy Khalilzad arrives to seek Pakistan's support for settlement in Afghanistan

Updated December 04, 2018

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Zalmay Khalilzad calls on FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi and reiterates Trump's desire to seek Pakistan's cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan. —PID
Zalmay Khalilzad calls on FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi and reiterates Trump's desire to seek Pakistan's cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan. —PID

Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 17-year old war, arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday for meetings with the political and military leadership about bringing the Afghan Taliban to peace talks.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, Khalilzad called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and reiterated US President Donald Trump's desire to seek Pakistan's cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Qureshi has assured the US side of Pakistan's steadfast support for a negotiated settlement in war-torn Afghanistan.

The visit comes a day after Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking Islamabad's "assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war", said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

In Washington, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council (NSC) told Dawn that in his first letter to PM Khan, President Trump had sought “Pakistan’s full support” for the US-led peace process in Afghanistan and for his special envoy’s trip to the region.

Khalilzad will also travel to Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in a stepped-up effort to find a peaceful end to the Afghan war.

"He will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate," read a press release by the US Department of State.

'Less arrogant mindset'

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, in reply to Khalilzad's tweet regarding his regional visit, asked the special envoy to "bring a less arrogant and hostile mindset when you visit Islamabad [this time]".

Dr Mazari is considered a hawk in the PTI government on relations with the US and has in the past called out Trump over his tirade against Pakistan.

Khalilzad has a prickly relationship with Pakistan, having often accused Islamabad of fomenting violence in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban.

Following Khalilzad's appointment in September as Trump administration's new envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had urged him to be more sensitive to Pakistani opinion than he has been as a private citizen.