Wed, 27 May 2020

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has held talks with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and other officials amid renewed efforts aimed at finding a negotiated solution to the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government released few details about Khan's talks with Khalilzad, saying only that he reaffirmed Islamabad's 'commitment to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan.'

In a statement, it said Khalilzad briefed Khan 'on his recent visits to the region to muster support for the Afghan reconciliation process.'

Khalilzad also held talks with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Washington has been pressing Pakistan to use its leverage to convince the Taliban to meet with U.S. and Afghan officials.

Islamabad says its influence on the Taliban is overstated but it will do whatever is possible for peace.

On his previous trips to the region, Khalilzad met with Taliban envoys in their Mideast headquarters in Qatar.

On January 17, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called Khan to discuss how to advance the peace process.

Taliban representatives said this week that Islamabad was pressuring its leaders to accept talks with the Afghan government, detaining a senior leader in the city of Peshawar before releasing him a few days later.

Taliban envoys have met with Khalilzad on at least three occasions but have repeatedly refused to talk directly to the internationally recognized Afghan government, which they view as a puppet of Washington.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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