The US special envoy for Afghanistan and the commander of NATO forces there met Pakistan’s army chief on Monday to discuss the war-torn nation’s peace process at a pivotal juncture for the stalled negotiations.
Pakistan is the third country that US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has visited in the last week as Washington looks to inject new life into Afghan peacemaking with a US troop withdrawal deadline looming in May.
Khalilzad and General Scott Miller, the head of US forces and the NATO-led non-combat Resolute Support mission, met General Qamar Javed Bajwa at Pakistani army headquarters in Rawalpindi, according to the media wing of Pakistan’s military.
“Matters of mutual interest, regional security and ongoing Afghanistan Reconciliation Process were discussed during the meeting,” a statement said. “The visiting dignitary greatly appreciated Pakistan’s role in the ongoing peace process.”
Pakistan is seen as a key player in Afghan peacemaking and has been acknowledged by Washington for helping to bring the insurgent Taliban to the negotiating table.
But the process has stalled amidst a resurgence of violence and disputes over the agenda for negotiations, including ceasefire arrangements.
The US special envoy proposed a shake-up of the process this week during visits to Kabul and the Qatari capital Doha, the venue for negotiations, according to diplomatic and political sources.
Khalilzad shared a letter with Afghanistan’s president and top peace official, published in local media and verified by Reuters, which said Washington would ask the United Nations to convene foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and United States “to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan.”
The State Department declined to confirm the letter’s veracity, but said on Sunday after it was published by media that all options remain on the table for its remaining 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.
Former women's police head killed by gunmen in AfghanistanThe former head of women police in a southern Afghanistan province was seriously wounded and her husband — also a police officer — was killed Sunday ... World News
German government agrees to extend by 10 months its military presence in AfghanistanThe German government on Wednesday agreed to extend by 10 months its military presence in Afghanistan, where it has the second largest contingent ... World News
US, Pakistan military officials meet over troop withdrawal from AfghanistanSenior US and Pakistani military officials spoke in Islamabad on Friday about the possibility of postponing the withdrawal of foreign forces from ... World News