US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is arriving in Islamabad Monday to discuss the latest developments in intra-Afghan peace talks with Pakistani officials, local media reported.
Khalilzad will meet with Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership to discuss ways of taking the dialogue forward, local broadcaster Geo News reported Sunday, quoting Foreign Ministry sources.
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When contacted, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhary declined to confirm or deny the report. Khalilzad’s visit — which if confirmed, would be the 12th in less than two years — follows the start of long-awaited intra-Afghan talks on Saturday in Doha which aim to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
Taliban team returns to Doha for intra-Afghan peace talks
Negotiations are part of US-Taliban peace deal signed in February in the Qatari capital to end the 19-year conflict.POSITIVE STEP . GOD YOUR GRACE ALONE.🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/yKTOqYjxd0
— allen (@allen62506101) September 8, 2020
The landmark peace talks follow a US-Taliban deal reached in February. The two sides are aiming for political reconciliation and an end to decades of violence. They will be tackling tough issues which will include the terms of a permanent ceasefire, constitutional changes and power sharing.
In December 2018, Pakistan also arranged rare direct talks between Washington and the Taliban, paving the way for the Doha peace deal between the two sides.
Read more: Intra-Afghan dialogue shows world’s acceptance of Pakistan’s stance: FM
Pakistan also facilitated the landmark first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Islamabad in July 2015. The process broke down after the Taliban announced the death of their long-time leader Mullah Omar, triggering a bitter internal power struggle.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk