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Khalilzad discusses Afghan peace with Gen. Bajwa

Khalilzad Discusses Afghan Peace with Gen. Bajwa

KABUL – The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad met Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed the peace process in Afghanistan, Pakistan military said Sunday night.
Khalilzad began his multi-nation visit from Pakistan that will also take him to Afghanistan and Qatar for talks with the Taliban, according to the US State Department.
A statement by Pakistan Army said the US envoy and the Pakistan army chief discussed the overall regional security situation including Afghan refugees issue, Afghan reconciliation process and Pak-Afghan border management.
“Both shared steps taken in this regard and agreed to continue working towards mutually agreed goals,” the statement from the Pakistan Inter-Services Public Relations said.
It is the second visit of Khalilzad to Pakistan in a month as part of his mission to press for the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue.
He last visited Pakistan on May 8 and held talks with General Bajwa on the peace efforts in Afghanistan.
Earlier the US State Department said in a statement Khalilzad departed on June 5 for travel to Doha, Islamabad, and Kabul.
“The primary focus of Ambassador Khalilzad’s trip is to obtain agreement between the Afghan parties on the practical next steps necessary for a smooth start to intra-Afghan negotiations,” said the statement, which was posted on the website of the US State Department.
In addition, building on his last visit, he will review with the parties the implementation of all commitments in the US-Taliban Agreement and the US-Afghanistan Joint Declaration, specifically reduced violence and prisoner releases, the statement further said.
Sources say Khalilzad is seeking Pakistan’s help in the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue and reduction in violence in Afghanistan.
The intra-Afghan dialogue was scheduled to start on March 10 under the Taliban-US agreement but could not start in view of differences over release of Taliban prisoners. The agreement was signed in February.
Taliban had refused to join the talks after the government refused to release the Taliban 5000 prisoners in accordance with the Taliban-US deal. However, the Afghan government has released nearly 2800 Taliban prisoners. The Taliban have also released about 458 government prisoners.
During his visit to Pakistan in May Khalilzad had also sought assistance in helping to obtain the freedom of American Mark Frerichs, who according to the US media was kidnapped in early February in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province, which borders Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal district.
No group has claimed responsibility for kidnapping of Frerichs and Khalilzad for the first time had spoken about him during his talks with the Taliban and also the Pakistani military leaders.
Taliban said they are not holding the American man.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says on its website that it is investigating the early February 2020 disappearance of Frerichs in Afghanistan.
Khalilzad said in May in a twitter post that he had sought actions necessary to secure the freedom of Frerichs in his meeting with the Taliban representatives in Qatar.
(Sahar News)

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