FILE - This March 2009, file photo, shows Zalmay Khalilzad, special adviser on reconciliation in Kabul, Afghanistan. Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington's newly named point man, tasked with finding a peaceful end to Afghanistan's 17- year war, is in Pakistan to seek the new government's help pushing the Taliban to the table, according to a U.S. Embassy statement Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. ISLAMABAD – Washington's newly named point man tasked with finding a peaceful end to Afghanistan's 17-year war is in Pakistan to seek the help of the new government in Islamabad in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, the U.S. Embassy said Tuesday. A former U.S. ambassador in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan from neighboring Afghanistan. His tour of the region will also include Middle East stops in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Senior US Senator Lindsey Graham has urged President Donald Trump to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as intense contacts between the two countries continue over negotiations to end the 17-year war with the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan. Graham spoke to reporters in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Sunday, capping off days of meetings that saw the top US envoy on Afghan reconciliation and its commander of military forces in the region also visit the South Asian country. "I've seen things change here and all in a positive direction," said Graham, a senior member of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee who has visited Pakistan dozens of times in recent years. Khan, who came to power after a general election last year, has long stated his support for a peace agreement in Afghanistan to end hostilities there. Trump would be "far more enthusiastic about the region than he is today" if he met Khan, said Graham, who held talks with the prime minister earlier on Sunday.
The Taliban held a meeting on Monday with American officials in the latest attempt to bring a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 17-year war. The meeting was held in the United Arab Emirates and involved Saudi, Pakistani, and Emirati representatives, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Twitter. A US State Department spokesperson said the meetings in Abu Dhabi are part of efforts to promote an intra-Afghan dialogue towards ending the conflict in Afghanistan. "We have long said that the war in Afghanistan will only end when Afghans sit together with mutual respect and acceptance to discuss a political roadmap for their future," the spokesperson said. "Special Representative [Zalmay] Khalilzad has in the past met, and will continue to meet with all interested parties, including the Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict."
ISLAMABAD - U.S. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that he will urge President Donald Trump to meet with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan so they can devise a plan to end Afghanistan's 17-year war, Americ's longest military engagement. Graham spoke at a news conference in Islamabad after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has previously faced criticism for suggesting peace talks should include the Taliban. "I think they will hit it off" if they meet as they have "similar personalities," said Graham of the proposed meeting between Trump and Khan. Graham added that the war in Afghanistan "will end through reconciliation" but that no such talks should include the Islamic State group or al-Qaida. Graham said he would also urge Washington to reach a free trade agreement with Pakistan, a proposal that could be a game changer for Islamabad.
The US peace envoy for Afghanistan has hailed "significant progress" in six days of talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha, aimed at finding a solution to end the 17-year-old war in the South Asian country. "Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues," Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, wrote on Twitter. The Taliban rejected media reports about a possible "agreement on a ceasefire". "Reports by some media outlets about agreement on a ceasefire and talks with the Kabul administration are not true," Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said in a statement shared with Al Jazeera.