Taliban agreement would see US Afghan troop presence hugely reduced

02 Août, 2019, 20:43 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Taliban agreement would see US Afghan troop presence hugely reduced

This comes as US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday wrapped up his two-day visit to Islamabad where he met with Pakistani Prime Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the USA envoy also "expressed hope that others would follow in [the] same vein", according to a statement released by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The Taliban, who have held at least seven rounds of talks with Khalilzad and other U.S. diplomats since past year without any involvement of Kabul officials, have always insisted that the group would not hold direct talks with the government and that its delegates be part of a nationwide team.

United States officials believe an agreement could be finalised before the Afghan presidential election in September.

Khalilzad arrived in Islamabad Thursday afternoon after his almost 10 days of visit to Afghanistan where he met senior government leaders, politicians, members of the peace council, civilian society and women activists to brief them about his peace mission.

Recalling his recent interaction with President Donald Trump in Washington, the prime minister emphasized that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan as well as of the broader region.

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On the occasion, PM Imran said,"Peace and stability in Afghanistan is in Pakistan's own national interest".

Reports suggest that once the United States and the Taliban agreed on a framework for the troop withdrawal, the next phase would focus on the intra-Afghan dialogue and seeking a permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan. He stressed that the opportunities for an expanded bilateral economic relationship must be optimally utilised.

According to the ISPR, the USA envoy and army chief discussed the progress on the Afghan peace process and agreed to work for mutual interests.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday presided over a high-level meeting in Islamabad to review outcome of PM's visit to US and summit meet. During the meeting, he shared the outcomes of 7th round of US-Taliban peace talks in Doha and his recent engagements in Kabul. The foreign minister welcomed the progress achieved in talks and the Intra Afghan Peace Conference in Doha in which all the participants agreed upon a basic road map.

"Consolidating peace will require reliable assurances from Afghanistan and Pakistan that neither side's territory is used to threaten the other's", read the US Embassy statement.

The COAS said that Pakistan will play its role to enhance its efforts for peace, added the ISPR.

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