Senior US official in Islamabad for talks on Afghanistan

Islamabad: A senior US diplomat arrived in Pakistan for bilateral talks, focusing on diplomatic efforts to push for peace process in Afghanistan, official and diplomatic sources said.

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells, who landed in here on Sunday after concluding her two-day visit to Afghanistan, will hold meetings with foreign ministry officials in Islamabad on Monday, the sources told Xinhua.

Both sides have long been involved in consultations to encourage the Taliban to come to the negotiation table, however, these efforts have not yet been succeeded.

The Taliban insisted on direct talks with the United States as Taliban leaders said they consider Washington as the major party to the conflict.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted last month that the United States is willing to join the talks with the Taliban along with the Afghan government.

“The United States stands ready to work with the Afghan government, the Taliban, and all the people of Afghanistan to reach a peace agreement and political settlement that brings a permanent end to this war,” Pompeo said in a statement on June 16.

There is no response from the Taliban to the US statement.

Wells arrived in Islamabad days after the US and some of its western allies led a campaign to include Pakistan in a grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that as they claim Pakistan was “unable to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.”

Pakistan says it will work towards effective implementation of the Action Plan, while staying on the grey list.

A similar situation took place in 2011 when Pakistan was placed on the list and was taken out in 2015 after it successfully implemented the Action Plan.