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US envoy reaches Pakistan for Taliban talks

Islamabad: The US special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 17-year-old war met with Pakistan’s foreign secretary, security and army officials Tuesday to discuss how to bring the Taliban to peace talks, officials said.

The visit by Zalmay Khalilzad came a day after President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking his cooperation. Khalilzad was also expected to meet with Khan.

The US Embassy did not share any details about the talks, and Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mohammad Faisal, said only that the two sides held detailed discussions on peace and a political settlement in neighbouring Afghanistan.

It was unclear how long Khalilzad would stay in Pakistan.

According to the State Department, the US special envoy will also travel to Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in stepped-up efforts to find a peaceful end to the Afghan war.

Washington and Kabul have long accused Islamabad of turning a blind eye to the Afghan Taliban, whose leadership is based in Pakistan.

Islamabad has always denied the allegations, pointing to its efforts to combat home-grown extremists who have carried out hundreds of attacks inside Pakistan.

On Monday, Khan told reporters that his government will do whatever was possible to ensure peace in Afghanistan. (PTI)

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