Pak Army chief, US envoy discuss Afghan peace

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and visiting US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad discussed the ongoing peace process for the war-torn country, the military here said.

The meeting took place on Monday at the army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Xinhua news agency.

Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan earlier in the day after stops in Afghanistan and Qatar.

In a statement, the military’s media wing, ISPR said: “Matters of mutual interest, regional security and ongoing Afghanistan Reconciliation Process were discussed during the meeting.”

The meeting came as the new US administration under President Joe Biden chalked out a four-point strategy for the Afghanistan government, with a vision to end the decades long war, warning of dangerous and dire consequences if the peace deal with the Taliban is scrapped.

In a letter written by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, addressed to the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Head of the Afghan peace council Abdullah Abdullah, it was warned and intimated that if the peace deal with the Taliban is negated, it would result in an opportunity for the terror outfit to make “rapid territorial gains”, which may lead to toppling of the Kabul administration.

The US and the Taliban signed an agreement in February 2020, which called for a full withdrawal of American military forces from the conflict-ridden country by May 2021 if the militant group meets the conditions of the deal, including severing ties with other terrorist organisations.

The administration of President Joe Biden had noted that the Taliban had not met its commitment under the US-Taliban deal.

The war in Afghanistan, which has caused about 2,400 US military deaths, is the longest one in American history.