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US, Pakistan discuss Afghan peace process

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The United States (US) Senator Lindsey Graham met Sunday with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, where they exchanged views on matters related to bilateral and regional issues, especially peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, Pakistan Foreign Office said.

Lindsey Graham is the chairman of the US Senate’s Judicial Committee and senior member of the committees of the House on armed services and budget.

Earlier, on Jan 19, the foreign minister had said that Pakistan was trying to host the next round of talks between the US and Afghan Taliban as such kind of dialogue was in the interests of the Afghan government, Taliban and the entire region.

“Solution to Afghan issue is not possible without intra-Afghan dialogue and Pakistan considers it vital for the restoration of peace in the entire region,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

However, the Afghan Taliban rejected media reports that they were prepared to resume meetings with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad and repeated their refusal to deal directly with the Afghan government, as the US diplomat extended his stay in Pakistan in wake of the development.

Media reports had suggested that a meeting in Islamabad was on the cards following discussions between Khalilzad and Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Senior Taliban leaders said that regional powers had approached them and wanted them to meet the US delegation in Islamabad and also include the Afghan government in the peace process but that the approaches had been rejected.

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