US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, visited Pakistan Sunday at the beginning of his 16-day multi-nation trip which will also take him to Qatar for another round of peace talks with the Taliban.
Khalilzad held delegation-level talks at the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan before meeting with other senior Pakistani civilian and military leaders during his day-long stay in Islamabad.
The US Embassy in Pakistan said in a statement that Ambassador Khalilzad met Prime Minister Imran Khan, MFA Additional Secretary Aftab Khokher and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa.
"Ambassador Khalilzad briefed Pakistani officials on the substantial progress made in talks over the last month and planned next steps," the statement said "He (Khalilzad) noted that the United States continues to be encouraged by the role Pakistan has played to advance the peace process and discussed additional positive steps that Pakistan can take and the importance of recent efforts for improving US-Pakistan relations."
According to the statement, Khalilzad and Pakistani officials also discussed the benefit of improved Pakistan-Afghanistan relations in reaching, implementing, and sustaining a durable peace. Both countries will benefit from the increased regional connectivity, cooperation and integration that peace in Afghanistan offers.
"The United States stands ready to assist," the statement concluded.
Khalilzad is expected to visit many other countries, including Afghanistan, Qatar, UAE, Brussels, and Germany.
The US and the Taliban have held six rounds of talks – three of them in Doha. In the last round of talks in April, the two sides made slow but steady progress on key issues under debate.
According to US officials, the key issues discussed between the US and the Taliban in Doha were foreign forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, counterterrorism assurances, ceasefire, and direct talks with the Afghan government.