US special envoy lauds Pakistan's resolve for Afghan peace

11:00 AM | 21 Jan, 2019
US special envoy lauds Pakistan's resolve for Afghan peace
ISLAMABAD – US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad has appreciated Pakistan's resolve to push for Afghan peace.

In a tweet, he said, "we are heading in the right direction with more steps by Pakistan coming that will lead to concrete results."

He said he held a productive meeting with Pakistan's top leadership during the visit to advance the peace process and thanked people and government of Pakistan for their hospitality.

Khalilzad, who has completed his visit to Pakistan, arrived in Islamabad on Thursday for talks with top civilian and military leadership. The envoy was accompanied by a US inter-agency delegation representing the Departments of Defence and State, and the National Security Council.

Both sides, during a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, discussed progress made in the peace process so far. Foreign Minsiter Qureshi told Khalilzad that Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability to the region would remain ongoing.

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Khalilzad met Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa upon arrival in Islamabad on Thursday.

Khalilzad and General Austin Scott Miller, Commander Resolute Support Mission met General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the Pakistani army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Regional security environment and Afghan peace and reconciliation process was discussed during the meeting, according to the army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The US delegation appreciated Pakistan’s efforts towards peace process and besides the Afghan peace process, border management was also discussed.

Washington has long maintained Taliban leaders are sheltering in Pakistan with covert support from the country’s intelligence agency. Washington has been urging Islamabad to use its influence to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table.

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Pakistani officials say their influence over the Taliban has significantly declined over the years because the insurgents have gained control over large areas of Afghanistan and continue to pose serious battlefield challenges for US-backed Afghan security forces.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan 17 years ago and the war with the Taliban has since killed nearly 150,000 people, including Afghan civilians, security forces, insurgents and more than 2,400 American soldiers, according to an American University study released recently.

The longest war effort in US history has also cost Washington nearly one trillion dollars. The Taliban has expanded its insurgent activities and currently controls or hotly contests about half of Afghanistan. The conflict is said to have killed more Afghan civilians and security forces in 2018 than in any other year.