Trump’s Afghan Peace Envoy Visits Pakistan on Eve of US Election

The U.S. envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, visited Pakistan Monday and reviewed Afghan peace-building efforts with the country’s military leadership.The visit came on the eve of the Nov. 3 presidential election in the United States, although analysts say they don’t expect any significant change in Washington’s current Afghan policy regardless of who wins the contest.A Pakistani army statement said its chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, and Khalilzad’s delegation discussed the ongoing U.S.-brokered Afghan peace process “and (the) way forward for (a) lasting peace” in Afghanistan.It was referring to weeks of direct negotiations under way in Qatar between the Taliban insurgency and representatives of the Afghan government aimed at reaching a political settlement that ends almost two decades of Afghan war.The intra-Afghan peace dialogue is an outcome of the agreement U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration sealed with the Taliban in late February to extricate U.S. forces from the conflict in Afghanistan, America’s longest.Pakistan is credited with bringing Taliban leaders to the negotiating table and helping broker the February 29 deal that requires all U.S. and NATO troops to leave Afghanistan by May 2021. In return, the insurgents are bound to fight terrorism and negotiate a peace deal with rival Afghan factions.Monday’s army statement noted that Khalilzad “appreciated Pakistan’s untiring efforts for facilitating the process towards the mutual objective of peace in the region.”The intra-Afghan talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, however, have not delivered the desired results and instead battlefield hostilities in Afghanistan have intensified, killing dozens of people every day.The increased violence has raised concerns about the sustainability of the peace process. Despite the rise in violence, however, Trump has repeatedly said he wants to bring home U.S. troops to close what he often refers to as America’s endless war. 

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