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July 20, 2021

US envoy on Afghanistan meets PM, COAS

 
July 20, 2021

US envoy on Afghanistan meets PM, COAS

ISLAMABAD: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad met Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa here on Monday. He is on a day visit to Pakistan.

In the meetings, Ambassador Khalilzad emphasised the urgency of a comprehensive political settlement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, one that leads to a sustainable peace and preserves Afghanistan’s security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

A press statement released by the US Embassy in Pakistan said: “Continued war in Afghanistan poses a risk to the entire region and holds back its development. Peace, by contrast, will enable regional connectivity and increased trade and development. We commit to do our part to make this vision a reality. Tangible and material support for the Afghanistan peace process is vital for its ultimate success, as are positive long-term relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Earlier, US Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation called on the prime minister. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and National Security Adviser Moeed Yousuf were also present on the occasion.

Imran Khan highlighted Pakistan’s constructive efforts for facilitating the peace efforts for achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to end over four decades long conflict in Afghanistan.

He said the escalation of conflict and instability in Afghanistan is not in Pakistan’s interest as it would lead to serious challenges for Pakistan in areas of security and influx of refugees, adding that durable peace in Afghanistan would open avenues for regional economic connectivity.

The prime minister recalled that he had consistently emphasised that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, adding that imposition of a government by force will not lead to the resolution of the conflict and that only a negotiated settlement will bring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Reaffirming to Pakistan’s consistent support to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan, the premier underlined that a secure and safe western border is in Pakistan’s own interest and Islamabad would like to remain closely engaged with Washington and other relevant world capitals to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan.

He emphasised the need for all Afghan sides to show flexibility and engage meaningfully with each other. Prime Minister Imran Khan added that as suggested by him at the recent Central Asia and South Asia Connectivity Conference in Tashkent, it was important for Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional countries to constructively work together for a lasting political settlement in Afghanistan.