Zalmay Khalilzad extends stay in Pakistan

Islamabad: United States (US) Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has extended his stay in Pakistan. Diplomatic sources said that the date for his return has not been finalised yet. “The US Embassy in Islamabad will intimate the Foreign Office in this regard later on.” The ambassador arrived in Islamabad on Jan 17 along with a delegation of US officials. He was scheduled to depart on Saturday. During his stay, Khalilzad met Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other senior officials. “The two sides reviewed developments post Abu Dhabi, in order to take the Afghan peace process forward,” said a foreign office statement . “An Afghan Taliban delegation had a round of talks last month with US officials in Abu Dhabi.” The statement didn’t give any further details on the talks, but media reports had said that Pakistan agreed to host the next round of talks between the Afghan Taliban and the United States in Islamabad. Khalilzad, an Afghan-born veteran US diplomat who served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, was named by the Trump administration four months ago as a special envoy to negotiate peace. It is also expected that the next round of talks between Afghan Taliban and United States will be held in Islamabad Pakistan. Diplomatic sources stated US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who is in Pakistan, has expressed wish to hold talks with Afghan Taliban in Islamabad. Pakistan accepted Zalmay’s request. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar will also participate in the talks, the sources held.