Alice Wells, Khalilzad arrive in Islamabad to discuss Afghan peace

Alice Wells, Khalilzad arrive in Islamabad to discuss Afghan peace
US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells is leading US delegation and hold talks at Foreign Office on April 29, 2019. (Foreign Office)
Updated 29 April 2019

Alice Wells, Khalilzad arrive in Islamabad to discuss Afghan peace

Alice Wells, Khalilzad arrive in Islamabad to discuss Afghan peace
  • Will meet senior Pakistani officials to discuss an array of bilateral issues, regional peace
  • Any peace agreement will be based on assurance of permanent cease-fire, Khalilzad says

ISLAMABAD: US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells arrived in Islamabad on Monday.
According to the State Department press release, Wells will “meet senior Pakistani government officials to discuss bilateral issues of mutual interest including trade, investment and regional stability.” She concluded her visit to India this week.
Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal said in a tweet that the meetings were “part of regular consultations, on bilateral relationship & Afghan peace process.”
However, Khalilzad reiterated on Sunday that any peace agreement would be based on the assurance of permanent cease-fire and ending the decades-old Afghan war.
In an interview with Tolo News, Khalilzad said the Taliban’s demands were yet focused on the withdrawal of US forces from the country.
“Our focus is on terrorism. No agreement will be done if we don’t see a permanent cease-fire and a commitment to end the war,” he said. “We are seeking peace and (a) political settlement … We want peace to give us the possibility to withdraw.”
Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Saturday to meet President Ashraf Ghani as part of his regional tour ahead of his next meeting with the Taliban in Qatar.
During Wells’ visit to Pakistan in November last year, Islamabad and Washington had agreed to continue their efforts to promote shared objectives of peace and stability in the region, ahead of early negotiations between the Afghan Taliban and special US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to end the Afghan war.
Following the collapse of intra-Afghan talks earlier this month, Pakistan on Thursday expressed its neutrality in the Afghan conflict, and Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a policy statement that the Taliban’s spring offensive and Afghan forces’ operations undermined the peace process.
Pakistan is highly dismayed by the surge of violence in Afghanistan from all sides,” he said.
Pakistan and the US have long been at odds over the war in Afghanistan, but in February this year, President Donald Trump publicly noted that relations had improved over a “short period of time.”