US envoy to visit Pakistan, Afghanistan for ‘intra-Afghan’ talks 

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad participates in a discussion on “The Prospects for Peace in Afghanistan” at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC, on Feb. 8, 2019 . (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019
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US envoy to visit Pakistan, Afghanistan for ‘intra-Afghan’ talks 

  • Zalmay Khalilzad will head an interagency delegation from February 10 to 28
  • His six-nation tour is focused on bringing ‘all Afghan parties together’

WASHINGTON: A senior US diplomat is set to lead a large delegation on a six-nation tour, including Afghanistan, to boost that country’s peace process and bring “all Afghan parties together in an intra-Afghan dialogue,” the State Department said Sunday.
The statement said Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan who has undertaken extensive recent talks with the Taliban, would head an interagency delegation from February 10 to 28.
It was unclear whether the group had already left at the time of the statement.
The itinerary will take the US delegation to Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the statement said, adding that Khalilzad would “consult with the Afghan government throughout the trip.”
The emphasis on bringing “all Afghan parties together” appeared crucial. US-Taliban peace talks have not included the Afghan government, which the Taliban considers US-backed puppets, and Khalilzad said recently that intra-Afghan negotiations were essential.
The US envoy has in recent months met several times with Taliban officials in Qatar, where the group’s leaders have an office in the capital Doha.
Khalilzad said Friday that he hoped to see a peace deal in place before Afghanistan’s July presidential elections.
President Donald Trump has been pushing to end US involvement in Afghanistan, where 14,000 American troops are still deployed. But Khalilzad emphasized that any troop withdrawal would depend on conditions on the ground.
Afghanistan has suffered nearly constant conflict since the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was followed by civil war, the Taliban regime, and a US invasion following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.


UAE wins 2019 Ramadan Year of Tolerance football cup in Islamabad

Updated 22 min 13 sec ago
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UAE wins 2019 Ramadan Year of Tolerance football cup in Islamabad

  • KSA, Egypt, Sudan, UAE, Nigeria, Kuwait & Arabs from two other nations played
  • KSA won third place match against Egypt on Saturday night

ISLAMABAD: The winning streak of the Emiratis that survived the ten day Year of Tolerance Football Championship of Ramadan 2019 came to a fruitful end early Sunday morning as the UAE team won against its opponent 1-0 taking the big trophy.
Initiative of UAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Al Zaabi who revived the spirit of football organizing the tournament last year under the title ‘Year of Zayed’ is aimed at rekindling relations between the Arab diplomats stationed in Islamabad.
“This kind of activity brings all Arabs, all Islamic countries, and all (Middle East) embassies together”, Al Zaabi told Arab News, as his team lifted the winning cup.
The Emirati envoy pledged to do more toward what he called a successful “sports diplomacy”.
The game was suspended back in 2008 during Pakistan’s troubled era plagued by terrorism. But in 2018 UAE emabssy which has indulged in several philanthropic activities took steps to connect with other Arab nations through football, a game commonly played in the Middle East.
Arab News shows in this video report, its second coverage of the tournament this month, the excitement of participants, players, and a select crowd of Arabs and Pakistanis enjoying the football in cricket crazy Pakistan.