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Peace in Afghanistan vital to long-term stability of Pakistan: US diplomat

ISLAMABAD: Special Representative of the US for Afghanistan reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said peace in Afghanistan was vital for the long-term stability of Pakistan and the wider region, a statement by the US embassy said at the conclusion of Special Representative Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan on Wednesday.

Khalilzad left for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the next leg of his five-nation peace mission for Afghanistan. This was his first visit to Islamabad since being named Special Representative by Secretary of State Pompeo.

“During his stay in Pakistan, Special Representative Khalilzad met with key officials in the government of Pakistan. He consulted with Pakistani leaders on how best to achieve a durable political settlement in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

Ambassador Khalilzad held delegation level talks with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and also met Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi here at the Foreign Office on Tuesday.

Earlier, Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal in a tweet said the foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s efforts for achieving peace in Afghanistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad has been tasked by the US State Department to make efforts for reconciliation between the Taliban and Afghan government. His visit will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia from October 4-14.

The State Department said Khalilzad would coordinate and lead US efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born former US ambassador to Kabul and Iraq, was appointed in September to the US State Department team that is leading the reconciliation effort and peace talks with the Taliban.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad earlier met Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in New York on September 27 in which Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored Pakistan’s support for all political initiatives towards achieving peace in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister said Pakistan regarded peace and stability in Afghanistan as vital for its own long-term stability and progress.

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