Zalmay Khalilzad & Gen Qamar Bajwa discuss Afghan peace process

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: Mr Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation called on chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, at GHQ Rawalpindi on Friday. During the meeting, issues of mutual interest and overall regional security situation including Afghan reconciliation process were discussed.

COAS reiterated that our support towards peace process is a manifestation of our goodwill towards the cause.

U.S embassy in Islamabad issued a statmetn regarding the visito of Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to Pakistan, in the statement it was said that the Ambassador Khalilzad discussed ongoing efforts by the United States to advance the Afghan peace process and sought Pakistan’s support in pressing for a reduction in violence, the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations, and assistance in helping obtain the freedom of American Mark Frerichs.

Pakistan’s military leaders reaffirmed their support for U.S. efforts.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan along with United States National Security Council, Ms. Lisa Curtis has started four countries Qatar, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, visit of region to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan, from last Tuesday.

Zalmay Khalilzad to Afghanistan is on a mission to press Taliban to reduce violence and request India and Pakistan to support the peace deal in Afghanistan.

He started his visit meeting with the chief negotiator of Afghan Taliban Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Doha Qatar on Wednesday (6th May) and held talks with the team of Afghan Taliban.

“Lengthy meeting overnight with Mullah Baradar and his team in Doha. We sought progress on a range of topics: a reduction in violence, humanitarian ceasefire as demanded by the international community to allow for better cooperation on managing COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan, acceleration of prisoner releases by both sides, actions necessary to secure the freedom of US citizen Mark Frerichs, regional and international support for the peace process, and movement to intra-Afghan negotiations ASAP,” Khalilzad tweeted, adding: “Will meet again after my trip to India and Pakistan.”

Zalmay Khalilzad went to India where he held meeting with Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, on Thursday 7th May.

Mr. Jaishankar and Mr. Doval in meeting with US special envoy made a particular mention of the need to protect “Afghan Hindus and Sikhs,” in Afghanistan.

In response Zalmay Khalilzad said the U.S. recognises India’s “constructive contribution” to Afghanistan, and suggested that India should discuss its concerns on terrorism directly with the Taliban,  he was of the opinion that India could play a “more active role” in the Afghan reconciliation process.

“India is an important force in Afghanistan and it would be appropriate for that [India-Taliban] engagement to take place,” Mr. Khalilzad told The Hinduin an  interview during his trip of India.

Zalmay Khalilzad visited Islamabad second time in three weeks, on 14th April the US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad along with Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General Austin Scott Miller had met with chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, at GHQ Rawalpindi.

The Taliban constantly denied the Afghan government, NATO, US and European Unions’ call for humanitarian ceasefire to combat the pandemic coronavirus.

They are insisting on release of their 5,000 prisoners’ prior to intra-Afghan-talks and reduction in violence.

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