ISLAMABAD           -        US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday called on Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ in Rawalpindi to discuss the Afghan peace process.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Paul W Jones was also present on the occasion, according to the military’s media wing.

DG ISPR said in a tweet that regional security situation with particular reference to ongoing Afghan reconciliation process was discussed in the meeting. “Regional security situation with particular reference to ongoing Afg[han] recon[ciliation] process was discussed,” said the tweet.

Zalmay Khalilzad’s day-long visit to Pakistan on Friday came a day after he briefly suspended peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar in retaliation to this week’s attack by the insurgent group on the largest US military base in Afghanistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad also met Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and briefed him on the US-Taliban discussions in the Qatari capital of Doha. “During the meeting, both the leaders discussed Afghan peace process and regional security. They also deliberated on overall law and order situation,” said the statement.

Qureshi assured Khalilzad that Pakistan will continue to sincerely play the role of facilitator in the Afghan peace process. He noted that peace in Afghanistan was imperative for peace and stability in the region. He reiterated Pakistan’s stance that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

The US envoy apprised the foreign minister about the details of last week’s US-Taliban talks. Zalmay Khalilzad appreciated Pakistan’s role for peace in Afghanistan and showed satisfaction over the progress.

Wednesday’s suicide car bomb-and-gun attack on the Bagram base mostly caused Afghan civilian casualties in nearby civilian localities and did not harm US and NATO forces. The Taliban swiftly took credit for staging the assault.

“When I met the Talibs today, I expressed outrage about yesterday’s attack on Bagram, which recklessly killed two and wounded dozens of civilians. (The) Taliban must show they are willing & able to respond to Afghan desire for peace,” Khalilzad tweeted Thursday after his meeting with insurgent negotiators.

“We’re taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic,” the Afghan-born US envoy emphasised.

Hours earlier, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen in his tweet insisted the two sides wrapped up nearly a week of peace negotiations in a “good and positive” atmosphere, and with an agreement to resume the talks after “a few days and internal consultations.”

Both Taliban and US negotiators have agreed to resume the talks after “a few days” and internal consultations, said Suhail Shaheen.

Shaheen attempted to dismiss suggestions the Bagram assault dealt a blow to the negotiation process in Qatar, saying the atmosphere in Thursday’s session of meetings was “good and positive.”

The negotiations restarted last Saturday, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly suspended the process, citing increased insurgent attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul that killed an American soldier, among others.

According to VOA, in the meetings in Qatar over the past six days, Khalilzad and his team pressed the Taliban to reduce violence or declare a ceasefire and enter into intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at finding a political settlement to the war.

Khalilzad is trying to seal a US-Taliban agreement that would lead to Afghan-Taliban negotiations to permanently end decades of hostilities and enable all international forces to leave the country.

Shaheen stated again earlier this week that once a troop-withdrawal agreement is signed between the Taliban and the US, insurgents would observe a ceasefire with US and NATO forces to facilitate their departure. A nationwide ceasefire with Afghan security forces, he said, would be on the agenda when Afghan-Taliban negotiations begin.