US envoy, Qureshi agree to cooperate on Afghanistan

US envoy, Qureshi agree to cooperate on Afghanistan

Islamabad: The US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and the Pakistan Foreign Minister on Tuesday agreed to cooperate for peace in Afghanistan, days after the former visited Kabul in a bid to restart talks with the Taliban to end the war.

During the meeting with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad here, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Islamabad welcomed Washington’s efforts to establish peace in Afghanistan, Geo News reported.

Delegation level talks between Pakistan and the US on the Afghan reconciliation process were held earlier in the day at the Foreign office, according to Radio Pakistan.

The Pakistani side was led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and the US side by Khalilzad.

Khalilzad was visiting Pakistan as part of his 10-day visit to five countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

He ended his two-day visit to Afghanistan on Monday where he met President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and several Afghan leaders.

“Special Representative Khalilzad’s mission is to coordinate and lead US efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table,” the US State Department statement said last week.

“Khalilzad will also be working in close coordination with the Afghan government and various stakeholders and explore how best to reach a negotiated settlement to the conflict,” it said.

Qureshi said Pakistan will continue to play its role to find a political solution to the Afghan issue.

Khalilzad and Qureshi earlier met in New York where the latter told the US that Pakistan believed that peace in Afghanistan was directly related to long-lasting stability in Islamabad.

The US is seeking help of the stakeholders to encourage the Taliban to talk to the Afghan government to hammer a political solution to the long-drawn conflict.

Pakistan and other regional countries favour direct talks between the Taliban and Kabul. But the Taliban wants a dialogue with the US and a time-frame for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

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