Decision taken to hold talks between US, Afghan Taliban in Islamabad

US Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at PM Office.  

ISLAMABAD: The decision to hold the next round of talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban in Islamabad was taken during a meeting between US Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

According to media, during the meeting, Khalilzad told Qureshi that the Taliban were not willing to sit with the Afghan administration nor were they willing for a ceasefire. Khalilzad requested that Pakistan should play its role to make the dialogue successful.

Diplomatic official said Pakistan decided to extend an invitation to the Afghan Taliban to come to Islamabad and hold talks there, hoping that representatives would travel to the city.

It is expected that Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar would also be part of the talks. 

Khalilzad, who arrived in Pakistan a day ago as part of his four-nation tour, told Qureshi that the US leadership values Pakistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

FM Qureshi assured Khalilzad that Pakistan will continue its efforts to facilitate the Afghan-reconciliation process to bring peace and stability to the region. “We have a shared responsibility to work towards bringing peace in Afghanistan,” the minister said. 

The US envoy thanked FM Qureshi for Islamabad’s role in facilitating talks between the US and the Taliban.

A US-delegation comprising the representatives of the State Department and Defence and National Security Council also attended the meeting.

Following his meeting with the foreign minister, Zalmay Khalilzad called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at PM Office.

According to sources, Khalilzad took Prime Minister Khan into confidence over the dialogue process with the Afghan Taliban. The prime minister stressed that peace in Afghanistan was in Islamabad’s interest and assured of Pakistan’s support in the peace process. 

Khalilzad is on his fifth visit to the region for Afghan reconciliation since he assumed office.

A day earlier, the US envoy met with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua at the Foreign Office and discussed progress on the Afghan peace process. 

UNGA President calls on FM Qureshi

United Nations General Assembly President Maria Fernanda called on Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad where they discussed matters of mutual interest such as security, peace, multilateralism, and migration.

The foreign minister, in a Twitter post, thanked the UNGA president and said Pakistan will play its role as a responsible member of the global community.