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Washington Asks Pakistan’s Help for ‘Final Afghan Deal’

Washington Asks Pakistan’s Help for ‘Final Afghan Deal’

ISLAMABAD – The United States has asked Pakistan to help Washington in clinching a ‘final deal’ with the Afghan Taliban as the US and Taliban remain in contact for peace.
Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that the US wanted Pakistan to play a ‘more active’ role for peace in Afghanistan.
“They have acknowledged our efforts so far and want some final push to clinch a deal. The US is ready to help Afghan Taliban get a share in power after the elections (in Afghanistan),” said one official.
He said Pakistan had assured all support for peace in Afghanistan. “This (peace) is in our own interest. We have been behind the US-Taliban talks,” the official added.
Another official said Pakistan believed a share in power will placate the Taliban and ensure a long-lasting peace in the war-torn country. “We have to streamline them (the Taliban). This is what we have told the US. They (the US) agree in principle,” he maintained.
Afghanistan presidential elections have been postponed twice this year. September 28 has been set as the new date for polls. Provincial council elections in all 34 provinces would be held on the same date.
The Independent Election Commission said recent amendments to election laws and the pending resolution of “numerous problems and challenges” facing the voting system prompted it to push back the polls.
The presidential election originally was scheduled for April 20, then was delayed to July 20 mainly because of security concerns and widespread skepticism about IEC’s ability to organize a fair ballot in the wake of October, 20 controversial parliamentary Elections.
Meanwhile, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad – seeking a peace deal with the Taliban to end nearly 18 years of war in Afghanistan – has returned to Kabul ahead of a new round of talks.
Khalilzad, the White house Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation has held several rounds of peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar. But the National Unity Government (NUG) has complained it is being left out of the negotiations, with the Taliban refusing to negotiate with what they consider ‘a US puppet’.
“We discussed the urgency of making progress on intra-Afghan dialogue,” Khalilzad tweeted on April 1.
The growing rift between Kabul and Washington over the negotiations with the Taliban erupted in public view on March 14, when President Ashraf Ghani’s national-security adviser harshly criticized the US special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad.
Khalilzad has recognized Islambad’s neutrality in the Afghan peace process and urged all Afghans to approach the forthcoming Polls and the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban with equal seriousness.
“Enter negotiations as if there were no elections, united as a country, and do elections as if there were no negotiations,” he wrote in a tweet.
In this trip, Khalilzad is travelling to Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Qatar from March 25 to April 10.
However, recently, tension between the Islamabad and Washington had thawed with Trump praising Prime Minister Imran Khan’s role in facilitating the Afghan peace process.
(Sahar News)

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