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U.S. Peace Envoy In Pakistan For Talks On Afghan Peace Process

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets with Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on April 5.

The U.S. envoy seeking a peace deal with the Taliban to end nearly 18 years of war in Afghanistan has arrived for talks in neighboring Pakistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad met on April 5 with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who "reiterated Pakistan's commitment to the peace process," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Pakistan, which Washington and Kabul have long accused of harboring the Taliban leadership, is seen as playing a key role in securing a peace agreement.

Khalilzad is also expected to hold meetings with Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders during his visit.

The veteran, Afghan-born diplomat has been shuttling back and forth to the region in a bid to garner support for a peace deal.

Khalilzad has held several rounds of talks with Taliban negotiators in Qatar, saying after the latest rounds of talks in March that the sides had made "real strides."

Before his Pakistan trip, Khalilzad visited Britain, Belgium, and Afghanistan. He is expected to travel to Uzbekistan and Jordan before an expected new round of talks with the Taliban in Qatar's capital, Doha, reportedly due to begin in mid-April.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa