A US delegation will reach Islamabad on Monday for talks with Pakistani officials, as the Afghan peace process intensifies and could lead to a presidential visit to the region, if it succeeds, according to reports on Sunday.
Alice Wells and US President Donald Trump’s administration’s point-person for South and Central Asia was going to be a part of the delegation in Washington, diplomatic sources told Dawn news.
The sources further said that this would be a follow-up of the US-Pakistan consultations that began in Washington when Prime Minister Imran Khan visited and met Trump at the White House on July 22.
They also said if the ongoing Doha talks led to an agreement between the US and Taliban, President Trump might visit Afghanistan in September to finalise the deal.
And if Trump visits Afghanistan, Pakistan would try to bring him to Islamabad as well to further strengthen the impression that relations between Islamabad and Washington are improving rapidly, sources added.
On Friday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan backed the need for an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue to “evolve a roadmap for future of Afghanistan”.
Khan’s statement comes after US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday wrapped up his day-long visit to Pakistan. He met the Prime Minister and also held talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Imran Khan also expressed satisfaction over the evolving international consensus and interest in fully supporting efforts to achieve long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan.
However, close allies once, relations between the US and Pakistan deteriorated after May 2011, when the American intelligence discovered Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and a team of US Navy Seals took him out, Dawn news reported.
Earlier in July this year, the United States had put pressure on Imran Khan to take “irreversible action” against terrorist and militant groups and to “facilitate peace talks” with the Taliban for intra-Afghan dialogue, according to the White House.