Pak-US dialogue begins for Afghan peace talks

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ISLAMABAD: A United States delegation led by seasoned US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad held talks with Pakistan officials here on Tuesday, over the reconciliation process in war-ridden Afghanistan.

Washington’s newly appointed focal person – Zalmay Khalilzad – tasked with finding a peaceful end to Afghanistan’s 17-year war, headed his delegation during the dialogue with Pakistan in the Foreign Office (FO).

Secretary Foreign affairs Tehmina Janjua, who was leading Pakistan’s delegation, accentuated that a stable Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan and “we are ready to play an active role in this regard.”

The decision of consultation between two sides was made during the US visit of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, where the two ally countries stressed on the need of expediting the peace process and bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table.

Khalilzad arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday morning after concluding his visit of Afghanistan where he met with President Ashraf Ghani, a long-time friend.

Afghanistan-born US envoy is expected to meet top brass of military and civilian administration during his two-day long visit, afterwards, he will depart for his visit to Gulf states.

Few days earlier, during his speech in US Institute of Peace in Washington, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s support for a political settlement in Afghanistan, noting that the use of force had failed to deliver results.

The Foreign Minister stressed that peace in South Asia, which was a common goal of both the United States and Pakistan, would remain elusive until all disputes, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, are resolved. – NNI