ISLAMABAD: US Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is expected to visit Islamabad next week to hold talks with the civilian and military leaderships to find a peaceful solution for the Afghan conflict, said the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad.
“Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan is a positive step toward efforts for peace in Afghanistan,” Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for the Foreign Office, told Arab News.
The Afghan-born Khalilzad served as the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations under the Bush and Obama administrations. He was instrumental in setting up the Karzai government in 2005 and the writing of the Afghan constitution under that government.
Previously, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Khalilzad’s “singular” focus now will be to bring the Taliban in Afghanistan to the negotiating table with the Afghan government.
The US has been pushing Pakistan to use its influence to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiations table and Khalilzad has been appointed to coordinate these efforts to find a peaceful settlement for the Afghan conflict.
Dr. Faisal told Arab News that Pakistan is willing to extend “every support” to the US for a settlement in the war-torn country. But he was quick to add: “Pakistan has got limited influence over the Afghan Taliban and the US needs to understand it.”
The Foreign Office spokesman said that the US has started to understand Pakistan’s position and “hopefully both countries will move ahead by bridging the trust deficit.”
He said that Khalilzad will hold meetings with the top civilian and military leadership during his trip to Islamabad.
“Pakistan will explain its position to Khalilzad regarding peace in Afghanistan and will definitely listen to him as well,” he said.