Diplomacy

Khalilzad seeks side agreement between Afghanistan, Pakistan amid peace talks

Salaam Times and AFP

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US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (centre left) confers with Pakistani military officials in Islamabad September 14. [Pakistani Inter Services Public Relations]

WASHINGTON -- US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has voiced hope that Kabul can reach a side deal with Islamabad, whose historic support of the Taliban has long tested relations.

The Taliban and Afghan government are engaged in slow-moving peace talks in Doha, Qatar.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamer Javed Bajwa have been "helpful" in the diplomacy efforts, Khalilzad said.

"We are seeking an agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan as an adjunct to an internal peace," he told a University of Chicago forum by video from Doha on Wednesday (October 7).

Both countries would "agree that their territory will not be allowed to be used against the other by extremist groups or groups that would undermine the security of the other", he said.

Pakistan had hailed the February 29 agreement between the United States and the Taliban, in which Washington declared that it would "facilitate discussions" between Kabul and Islamabad.

Economic incentives for Pakistan

Khalilzad, who visited Islamabad last month, said he saw economic incentives for Pakistan, which suffers severe power shortages and could import power from electricity-rich Central Asia if the Afghan government and Taliban reach a deal.

"There are economic reasons that would be transformative for the region should peace in Afghanistan come," he said.

Pakistani officials have welcomed the peace talks, which began September 12 after months of delays.

"Finally, our combined efforts have brought forth the day that the Afghan people have been yearning for," Khan tweeted September 11.

"For its part, Pakistan will continue to remain in full support and solidarity with the Afghan people as they march forward in this consequential journey for peace and development," he said in a separate tweet.

"A peaceful and stable Afghanistan will bring new opportunities for the progress and prosperity of not only Afghanistan but also the region," acting Afghan Foreign Minister Muhammed Hanif Atmar tweeted September 13, hailing Pakistan's role in the process.

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Pakistan's role in bringing peace in Afghanistan is very important because Afghanistan was destroyed by Pakistan during the last forty years and now Pakistan is needed to get involved in the Afghan peace process. America also knows that it is not possible to solve the issue of Afghanistan without the influence of Pakistan; therefore, Khalilzad meets with Pakistani officials on the Afghan peace process.

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An American Satan is visiting Pakistani Satans. Pakistan is trying to have its influence in the future government of Afghanistan so that it can prevent the influence of India. India has done many things for Afghanistan for the past twenty years. India has invested a lot of money on Afghanistan's infrastructures. India provides hundreds of scholarships annually for the Afghan youths, and it has built hundreds of schools and roads in Afghanistan, but Pakistan, on the other hand, sent us bombs and martyred our people.

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Khalilzad's role has been prominent in the talks between the Taliban and the United States, as well as in the intra-Afghan negotiations. In my opinion, Khalilzad should be appreciated. He tried a lot and took a lot of trouble in the ground. Sometimes he is in in the United States, sometimes he is in Qatar, sometimes he is in Islamabad and sometimes he is in Kabul. Traveling a lot is not that easy for an old person like Khalilzad. If a young man travels from the United States to Qatar, he has to rest for a day or two, but the old Khalilzad begins talks in Qatar as soon as he arrives there, and the following day he goes to Kabul. He has really a lot of energy. Anyway, Khalilzad is a very intelligent man, but unfortunately, a number of Afghans abuse him on the social media. If Khalilzad was not an Afghan but a Pakistani, Pakistanis would be very proud of him that a Pakistani works in very high and key positions of the United States government.

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