Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad due in Pakistan today

USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad due in Pakistan today

Shahbaz Hussain Khan, deputy ambassador of Pakistan ambassador in Kabul, meanwhile said the peace talks should be lead and owned by Afghans and that the Afghan people and government should lead any peace agreement that they would reach with the Taliban.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal later issued a formal statement giving further details.

Pakistan could play a key role in facilitating talks between the Taliban and government of Afghanistan, he said.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday met Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad had no immediate comment on the letter.

Trump had asked for Pakistan's "support and facilitation" in negotiating an end to the war and offered to renew the strained relationship, Pakistan's foreign ministry also confirmed.

The Trump administration, in the recent months, has intensified its efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of America's longest war in Afghanistan where the USA has lost over 2,400 soldiers since late 2001, when it invaded the country after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The overture to Khan represents a sea change from Trump's normally harsh rhetoric towards Pakistan, and will add to growing speculation that the United States is planning to pull out of Afghanistan in the near future.

"... We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another". Last month, the Pentagon said that the United States has suspended $1.66 billion in security assistance to Pakistan after President Trump's directive.

"In Afghanistan, it's gone on now it's approaching 40 years; 40 years is enough and it's time for everyone to get on board, support the United Nations, support Prime Minister Modi, support President Ghani and all those who are trying to maintain peace and make for a better world here".

US President Donald Trump sent a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan requesting his country's help to end the almost two-decades long conflict in Afghanistan, just weeks after engaging in a Twitter spat with the Pakistani leader. Khalilzad will be travelling to Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the UAE and Qatar. In the letter, Trump "stated that his most important regional priority was achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war".

The U.S. and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of turning a blind eye to the Afghan Taliban, whose leadership is based in Pakistan.

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