RAWALPINDI: US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen Austin Scott Miller, commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, talking to Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ on Thursday.—INP
RAWALPINDI: US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen Austin Scott Miller, commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, talking to Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ on Thursday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, and General Austin Scott Miller, commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, on Thursday called on Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ.

Matters related to mutual interest, peace and stability in the region, the Pak-Afghan border management and current developments in the Afghan peace process were discussed during the meeting, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations.

Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, Special Representative for Afghanistan, was also present.

The visiting dignitaries appreciated the positive role being played by Pakistan for the Afghan peace process.

This is the second visit of Mr Khalilzad to Pakistan in less than a month.

US special representative appreciates Pakistan’s efforts

Before coming to Pakistan Mr Khalilzad said that both Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Bajwa had been helpful in the diplomacy leading to an agreement between the US and Taliban.

He also said the US wanted a side agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan as an adjunct to an internal peace.

Speaking at a forum at the University of Chicago’s Pearson Institute by video link from Doha, he said both countries would agree that their territory would not be allowed to be used against the other by extremist groups or groups that would undermine the security of the other.

He said he saw economic incentives for Pakistan, which suffers severe power shortages and could import power from electricity-rich Central Asia if the Afghan government and Taliban reach a deal.

During his stay in Doha, Mr Khalilzad, along with Nato Commander in Afghanistan Gen Miller met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and discussed with him the Afghan peace negotiations.

Mr Khalilzad urged neighbouring countries of Afghanistan to support an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process and said that the US stands ready to support and assist in the peace process.

According to a press release issued by the US embassy here, during the meeting Ambassador Khalilzad again thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and General Bajwa for their help in advancing the Afghan peace process.

He and Gen Bajwa agreed that direct intra-Afghan negotiations provide a historic opportunity for achieving peace in Afghanistan and the region. They also agreed that the opportunity must not be lost and past mistakes should not be repeated.

The embassy statement said Mr Khalilzad and the army chief discussed the efforts countries supporting the peace process could undertake to help Afghans reach a political settlement and to implement it.

They also discussed Prime Minister Khan’s upcoming visit to Afghanistan and the roadmap that would guide Pak-Afghan relations after there is a peace agreement.

Ambassador Khalilzad, Gen Miller, and Gen Bajwa affirmed the need for a significant reduction in violence in Afghanistan as peace negotiations between the two sides move forward.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2020

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