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US envoy underscores economic, security benefits of Afghan peace during talks with Pak leaders

US envoy underscores economic, security benefits of Afghan peace during talks with Pak leaders

Islamabad: US chief negotiator for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, underscored the economic and security benefits that peace in the war-torn country can bring to the region during his talks with the top Pakistani leadership, the US embassy in Islamabad said on Wednesday.

Khalilzad, who was on a two-day visit to Pakistan, concluded his trip on Tuesday.

His trip was part of a recent effort to revive the stalled peace talks with the Taliban, which were cancelled by US President Donald Trump in September after a suicide attack, claimed by Taliban, in Kabul killed a US soldier and 11 others.

During his visit, Khalilzad held meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other senior government officials, the US embassy said in a statement.

He discussed the current status of the Afghan peace process and the importance of reducing violence in the landlocked country, it said.

"He also underscored the economic and security benefits peace (in Afghanistan) can bring to the region," it said.

On Tuesday, the Pakistan government said Prime Minister Khan has assured Khalilzad of its "steadfast" support to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, stressing on the importance for all parties to the conflict to take "practical" steps to reduce hostilities in the war-torn nation.

The US envoy visited Islamabad on October 28, a day after briefing leaders in Kabul on his renewed Afghan peace-building efforts. It was Khalilzad's first visit to Afghanistan after Trump abruptly ended the talks with the Taliban insurgents.

The US-Taliban talks had collapsed after nine rounds of talks between the US and Taliban representatives, held in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar.

On Friday last, in a day-long talk in Moscow, representatives of Pakistan, Russia, China and the US have agreed that negotiation is the only road to peace in Afghanistan, including an early resumption of direct US talks with the Taliban.

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