US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has wrapped up his official talks with top Pakistani civil and military leaders over the past three days but still stays in the country in hope of meeting the Taliban leaders. Pakistani officials have not given up efforts to convince the Taliban to sit with Khalilzad, who is leading a high-level delegation as part of his peace mission. Two Taliban officials, aware of the political activities of Taliban, told Daily Times that Qatari officials have informed the Taliban political representatives that the talks will not be taking place in Doha but a meeting is planned in Pakistan. Official sources in Islamabad say that officials from Qatar and Saudi Arabia can join the talks in Pakistan if those take place. The meeting in Pakistan can help reduce tension between the Taliban and the US envoy developed in the recent days that negatively impacted the peace process. Khalilzad in a series of tweets on Saturday tried to clarify his comments in Kabul in which he had stated the US will fight if the Taliban choose to fight. “I see that many are concerned that the United States is willing to both talk and fight. Let me be clear: the US wants peace,” the US envoy wrote in an apparent move to address the concerns over his remarks. “To achieve peace, we are ready to address legitimate concerns of all Afghan sides in a process that ensures Afghan independence & sovereignty, and accounts for legitimate interests of regional states. Urgent that fighting ends. But pursuing peace still means we fight as needed,” Khalilzad wrote. Influential US Senator Lindsay Graham set to arrive in Islamabad today with ‘some offer’ to support Pakistan’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan Sources close to the Taliban say Khalilzad in his previous meeting with the Taliban in Pakistan had hinted at announcement of the withdrawal of the troops but wanted the Taliban to announce a ceasefire and start direct talks with the Kabul administration. Officials in Islamabad have dispelled the impression that Pakistan is exerting pressure on the Taliban to sit with Khalilzad but insisted say they are only encouraging them to save the peace negotiations. Pakistani officials say they are trying to ‘keep peace talks on track’ as there is every possibility that the Taliban may withdraw from peace initiative which will lead to a ‘political stalemate almost impossible to break’. They say all sides including Taliban should not become victims of those who want peace efforts to fail and that the Taliban should convey their concerns to Khalilzad face to face and not through media. In another development, influential US Senator Lindsay Graham is coming to Pakistan on Sunday (today), diplomatic sources said. He is likely to ‘bring something … some offer … to support Pakistan’s efforts for Afghan peace,” an official told Daily Times. Published in Daily Times, January 20th 2019.