Zalmay Khalilzad Emphasized Urgency of Comprehensive Political Settlement Between Afghanistan and Taliban: US Embassy

ISLAMABAD: The US Embassy in Islamabad has issued a press note saying that during his meeting with Pakistan’s leadership, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad emphasized the urgency of a comprehensive political settlement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

The statement said that the meetings of Zalmay Khalilzad, which took place with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Arm,y Chief Gen Bajwa on July 19, were aimed at achieving such a settlement that could lead to a sustainable peace and preserves Afghanistan’s security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

“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,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, Office of the Prime Minister issued statement saying that U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad called on Prime Minister Imran Khan today. The exchange of views covered the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and the need for expediting the Afghan Peace Process. The Prime Minister highlighted Pakistan’s constructive efforts for facilitating peace efforts for achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to end over four decades long conflict in Afghanistan. He said that the escalation of conflict and instability in Afghanistan was 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 has consistently emphasized that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister added 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 to Afghanistan. Reaffirming Pakistan’s consistent support to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan, the Prime Minister underlined that a secure and safe Western border was in Pakistan’s own best interest and Pakistan would like to remain closely engaged with the U.S. and other relevant countries for peace efforts.

He emphasized 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 neighbors and regional countries to constructively work together for a lasting political settlement in Afghanistan. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is on a one-day visit to Islamabad as part of a visit to the region.

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