ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has assured the United States of its complete support in facilitating a negotiated settlement in war-torn Afghanistan.
The assurance was given during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad who arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday to hold meetings with Pakistan’s political and military leadership about bringing the Afghan Taliban to peace talks.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, Khalilzad called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and reiterated US President Donald Trump’s desire to seek Pakistan’s cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Qureshi has assured the US side of Pakistan’s steadfast support for a negotiated settlement in war-torn Afghanistan, the FO said.
US Special Rep Amb Zalmay Khalilzad @US4AfghanPeace called on the FM. Amb Khalizad reiterated President Trump’s desire to seek Pakistan’s cooperation for peace and stability in #Afghanistan. The FM assured the US side of Pakistan’s steadfast support for a negotiated settlement. pic.twitter.com/XIij5pZgG3
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) December 4, 2018
The visit comes a day after Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking Islamabad’s “assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war”.
In his first letter to PM Khan, President Trump sought “Pakistan’s full support” for the US-led peace process in Afghanistan and for his special envoy’s trip to the region.
Khalilzad will also travel to Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in a stepped-up effort to find a peaceful end to the Afghan war.
“He will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate,” read a press release by the US Department of State.
Meanwhile, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, in reply to Khalilzad’s tweet regarding his regional visit, asked the special envoy to “bring a less arrogant and hostile mindset when you visit Islamabad [this time]”.
Dr Mazari is considered a hawk in the PTI government on relations with the US and has in the past called out Trump over his tirade against Pakistan.
Khalilzad has a prickly relationship with Pakistan, having often accused Islamabad of fomenting violence in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban.
Following Khalilzad’s appointment in September as Trump administration’s new envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had urged him to be more sensitive to Pakistani opinion than he has been as a private citizen.