President Donald Trump will press Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for assistance in advancing the peace process in Afghanistan when the two leaders meet at the White House on Monday in their bid to reset strained relations between the two countries, as per Voice of America.
Pakistan has arranged Washington’s direct peace negotiations with Taliban insurgents who are fighting local and U.S.-led international troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
“The purpose of the visit is to press for concrete cooperation from Pakistan to advance the Afghanistan peace process and to encourage Pakistan to deepen and sustain its recent effort to crackdown on militants and terrorists within its territory,” said a senior U.S. administration official to Voice of America.
The months-long U.S.-Taliban dialogue has brought the two adversaries in the 18-year-old Afghan war close to concluding a peace agreement to pave the way for ending what has become the longest U.S. foreign military intervention.
The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity on the eve of the Trump-Khan meeting, said Washington appreciates the “initial steps” Islamabad has taken to facilitate the peace process but “we are reaching a critical juncture” and more cooperation is required to move the process forward.
“The president will be most interested in encouraging Pakistan to… use its leverage with the Taliban to help bring about a ceasefire and genuine inter-Afghan negotiation that include the Afghan government….We’re hoping that the discussions are productive.”