U.S. Peace Envoy in Pakistan Seeking End to 17-year Afghan War by Kathy Gannon – AP
U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan on Thursday, the last leg of a regional tour aimed at finding a negotiated conclusion to Afghanistan’s 17-year war, which would end the U.S.'s longest military engagement.
Khalilzad has accelerated efforts to end the war since his appointment last September. On his previous visits he held talks with the Taliban in their Middle Eastern headquarters in Qatar, but a Taliban official said Khalilzad canceled meetings originally scheduled for Jan. 9-10 with its leadership. No explanation was given, he said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. Khalilzad is reported to be annoyed with the Taliban's relentless refusal to meet directly with the Afghan government representatives.
He is reportedly in Pakistan to seek Islamabad’s help in getting the Taliban leadership into direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani’s representatives. Pakistan says its influence over the Taliban is overstated, yet the arrest earlier this week in Pakistan’s border city of Peshawar of Taliban leader Hafiz Mohibullah, ahead of Khalilzad’s visit, has been seen as a likely attempt to pressure the insurgent group into talks…