Khalilzad meets Pak army chief; discusses Afghan peace process, other issues – Times of India

ISLAMABAD: US special representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday met Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed the Afghan peace process among other issues.
In a statement, Pakistan military’s media wing – the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – said that “matters of mutual interest, regional security, and the ongoing Afghan Reconciliation Process were discussed during the meeting”.
It said the visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s role in the ongoing Afghan peace process.
“All elements of national power are united towards making that vision a reality to ensure long-awaited peace, progress, and prosperity in the region,” Gen Bajwa said.
The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
In a separate statement, the US Embassy in Islamabad said Khalilzad met the army chief and expressed appreciation on behalf of the United States, “especially the important role that Prime Minister Imran Khan and General Bajwa played in facilitating the start of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations in Doha on September 12”.
He stressed the need for ongoing regional and international support for this historic opportunity for peace.
The Taliban and the Afghan government are holding direct talks for the first time to end 19 years of war that has killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged various parts of the country.
Last month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed to release 400 Taliban prisoners, paving the way for the beginning of the long-awaited peace process aimed at ending nearly two-decades of conflict in the war-torn country.
The US inked a peace deal with the Taliban in February this year. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains to Washington’s 18-year war in the country.
The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in Afghanistan since late 2001.

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