US urges Islamabad, Kabul to trade assurances

Updated Aug 03 2019

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In this handout photograph released by the ISPR on Friday, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad meets Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.—AFP
In this handout photograph released by the ISPR on Friday, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad meets Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Friday met Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, as the US observed Pakistan and Afghanistan should ensure their soil was not used against each other.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Mr Khalilzad and Gen Bajwa discussed the Afghan peace process and agreed to work together to safeguard mutual interests.

“Zalmay Khalilzad appreciated Pakistan’s wholehea­r­ted support to the process and expressed hope that others would follow in the same vein,” said a press release.

The army chief said Pakistan would play its role for peace in the neighbouring country, the ISPR said.

The US envoy called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday.

In the meeting, the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the international consensus on efforts made for stability and peace in Afghanistan.

The prime minister said that Pakistan would continue its role to facilitate the peace process and maintain contact with the US and other stakeholders.

Mr Khan said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in favour of the region and Pakistan as well.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the US envoy and Foreign Minister Qureshi also discussed the progress against the backdrop of the seventh round of talks between the Taliban and the US held in Doha.

The US embassy in a statement issued on Friday observed that both Afgha­n­istan and Pakistan should ensure that their lands were not used against each other.

“As Ambassador Khali­lzad discussed in Afghanis­tan and Pakistan, consolidating peace will require reliable assurances from Afghanistan and Pakistan that neither side’s territory is used to threaten the other’s,” the statement said.

It said such assurances on top of an intra-Afghan comprehensive peace agreement would allow for increased regional economic integration, connectivity and development.

“In his meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Chief of Army Staff General Javed Bajwa, Ambassador Khalilzad outlined the positive momentum in the Afghan peace process and next steps. They also discussed the role Pakistan has played in support of the process and additional positive steps Pakistan can take,” the statement added.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2019