US, Pakistan officials discuss Afghan-peace process

Islamabad: US and Pakistani officials held delegation-level talks on the Afghan peace process here on Monday, the media reported.

US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells arrived in Islamabad for a meeting with the government’s interagency delegation led by Additional Secretary Americas Aftab Khokhar, Dawn online reported.

Radio Pakistan called meetings between Pakistani and US officials to be “quite significant” in the backdrop of recent rounds of peace talks between the Taliban and the US in Qatar.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman had said that the Monday meeting would be a part of “regular consultation on bilateral relationship and Afghan peace process”.

According to media reports, Khalilzad is expected to meet the Taliban in Doha in the coming days, but peace talks have been criticized for failing, so far, over including members of the Afghan government, which the militant group views as a “puppet regime”.

Last week, the special envoy said that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s stance on Afghanistan had the potential to positively transform the region and give Islamabad “a leading role”.

Khan had last week pledged his country’s “unconditional support” for Afghan peace process and urged the Taliban to call off their spring offensive.