Khalilzad’s recent visit to Pakistan is part of a larger two-week tour where he is also visiting China, India and Afghanistan for a negotiated settlement for the conflict in Afghanistan, as talks between Taliban and US hit a snag earlier this month over a potential ceasefire in 2019.

Whether the Trump administration wants Afghanistan’s neighbors, particularly Pakistan, to use their influence to persuade the Taliban to stay engaged is still uncertain. In the preceding month, the proclamation of US government showed complete disregard towards Pakistan as Trump stated that Pakistan has given the US nothing but lies and deceit. However, despite these statements, the US delegation continues to come to Pakistan to ensure peace in Afghanistan which clearly shows that these decisions cannot be made without taking Pakistan’s position into consideration. This affirmation has compelled US administration to believe that only Islamabad can play a key role in making this peace viable and it has realized this issue is a hard nut to crack without Pakistan’s permission.

Last week, US once again sent its special envoy for Afghanistan to the region with a task to convince Pakistan, India and China to work together to ensure the success of the Afghan peace initiative. Simultaneously, it’s unlikely that Trump administration would further isolate Pakistan considering its strategic position in the region.

Pakistan welcomed US delegation wholeheartedly and pledged to participate in this peace initiative because Pakistan high command has realized the importance of ending this war in the region. We hope that this time US, Pakistan and some other invisible powers will avoid playing foul in the Afghan land.

SHARIF NUHAAQ BALOCH,

Gujrat, January 16.