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Khalilzad Briefs Pakistani PM On Afghan Peace Efforts

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi (left) receives Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad on January 18.

U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi in Islamabad on January 18 to brief him on his recent efforts to resolve neighboring Afghanistan’s 17-year war, Pakistani officials said.

Qureshi assured Khalilzad of Pakistan's support for the peace process, which has suffered a setback because of the Taliban's refusal to talk directly to the Afghan government, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Washington hopes Pakistan can help end the conflict.

The Afghan government regularly accuses Pakistan of providing support to the Taliban. Pakistani officials deny this but say they have a degree of influence which they have been using to try to persuade the movement to accept peace talks.

On January 17, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and "expressed his gratitude for Pakistan's sincere facilitation of these efforts", according to a statement from the Pakistan government spokesman's office.

The two leaders also issued invitations to visit their respective countries and agreed "to remain engaged and create an environment for resolving all outstanding issues", it said.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters