US Afghan peace envoy takes push for peace to Pakistan

During their meeting on Monday, Pakistan PM called on all sides in Afghanistan's protracted war to reduce the violence.

    Khan said in a statement that it was 'important for all sides to take practical steps for the reduction of violence in Afghanistan' [AP].
    Khan said in a statement that it was 'important for all sides to take practical steps for the reduction of violence in Afghanistan' [AP].

    The United States's Afghan peace envoy remained in Pakistan on Tuesday as part of efforts to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 18-year war, even though President Donald Trump hasn't expressed any interest in resuming talks with the Taliban.

    The envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, met Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday and was expected to hold talks with the country's army chief on Tuesday.

    Officials in Pakistan, where the Taliban's governing council is believed to have its headquarters, have been pushing for a resumption of US-Taliban talks since they collapsed in September after Trump declared a deal that seemed imminently dead.

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    Trump's declaration followed a series of violent attacks in the Afghan capital that killed several people, including a US soldier.

    During their meeting on Monday, Khan called on all sides in Afghanistan's protracted war to reduce the violence.

    Civilian casualties have been rising fast in recent months, according to the United Nations which blames both fighters and US and Afghan government security forces.

    So far this year there have been more than 8,000 casualties.

    For the first time, the United Nations reported earlier this year that US and Afghan security forces killed more civilians than fighters.

    In a statement, Khan said it was "important for all sides to take practical steps for the reduction of violence in Afghanistan".

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    Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan from Afghanistan, where he met  leaders including President Ashraf Ghani, who has mostly dismissed any talks not led by his government.

    But Afghanistan's leadership has just come out of a presidential election that has been marred by allegations of corruption and fraud. Nearly a month after Afghans went to the polls in seemingly low numbers no results have been released.

    Preliminary results are now expected on November 14.

    SOURCE: AP news agency