Afghan Top Negotiator Calls For Peace After Meeting Pakistan Army Chief, Taliban Negotiator

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation – Zalmay Khalilzad, after meeting with Pakistan Army chief, has called for an expeditious reduction in violence and implementation of the countrywide ceasefire.

Earlier, Khalilzad met Pakistan Chief of Army Staff  General Qamar Bajwa and other senior officials to break the Afghan deadlock and establish the peace process. The US special representative reached Islamabad after meeting Afghan Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar.

This was Khalilzad’s second visit in less than a month while the Afgan government and Taliban are attempting to make the peace deal work.

The Afghan government has been hesitant to release all 5,000 Taliban prisoners at once, which includes some of the most notorious terrorists. But the Taliban emphasises that they will only enter into intra-Afghan dialogue once their all prisoners are issued.

Earlier, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper blamed both the Taliban and the Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government of not honouring the peace agreement.

Khalilzad met Pakistan Army Chief – Gen Qamar Bajwa to review the development of the Afghan peace deal.

The Pakistan DG-ISPR tweeted: Mr Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, COAS, today. During the meeting, issues of mutual interest and overall regional security situation including Afghan reconciliation process were discussed. COAS reiterated that our support towards the peace process is a manifestation of our goodwill towards the cause. The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s continuous efforts for peace and stability in the region.

Khalilzad, who is on a tour to the region as part of Trump Administrations diplomatic initiative for reconciliation in Afghanistan, earlier on Wednesday met Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar where they discussed hastening the release of Taliban prisoners.

Khalilzad said he had an elongated meeting with Mullah Baradar and queried on the development on a range of issues including – a decrease in violence, ceasefire in the region to facilitate better collaboration on managing COVID-19 pandemic, fastening of prisoner releases by both sides, release of U.S. citizen Mark Frerichs and most-importantly the intra-Afghan negotiations.

Khalilzad tweeted, adding: “Will meet again after my trip to India and Pakistan.”