Lisa Curtis, the renowned US scholar on South Asia affairs who is now a senior US official kicked off her visit to Pakistan with meetings for facilitating restart of the now stalled Afghan peace process.
US Special Envoy for Afghan Peace and Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad Amb Khalilzad has faced several unexpected changes in his planned visit as he had first go to Kabul instead of Islamabad on Tuesday. “His schedule has been fluid all week,” a diplomatic source said, adding that the special envoy was likely to visit Islamabad in the next few days.
No details about Ms Curtis’ meetings were publicly available. She was believed to be here to push for resumption of engagement with the Taliban in addition to certain bilateral issues.
Pakistan last month facilitated a meeting between the US special envoy and Taliban representatives in Abu Dhabi. UAE and Saudi officials attended the meeting as observers. It was agreed at the Abu Dhabi meeting that the process would continue and another meeting would be convened, but no date and venue for the next interaction has been set so far.
A diplomatic source said: “The Taliban are refusing to talk to the Afghan government. The US wants Pakistan to pressure Pakistan-based Taliban leadership to accept direct negotiations with the Afghan government.” The Pakistani government, he further said, was insisting that it had little control over the Taliban.