US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has welcomed Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to support a reduction in violence that will pave the way for a US-Taliban agreement, intra-Afghan negotiations, and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in support of a sustainable peace.The US embassy said Khalilzad, who wrapped his two-day visit to Islamabad, discussed the US efforts to facilitate a political settlement to end the war in Afghanistan. The US envoy held meetings with Prime Minister Khan, Foreign Minister Qureshi, Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa, and other senior officials and spoke at a UNHCR-sponsored conference marking 40 years of Pakistan’s support to Afghan refugees. HE also met with UN Secretary General Guterres to discuss the Afghan peace process.Khalilzad held talks in Pakistan as the Taliban and the US are set to sign the peace agreement layer this month. A senior Taliban leader earlier told Daily Times the agreement is expected to be signed on Feb. 29 that will be followed by intra-Afghan dialogue on March 10.The US and the Taliban negotiators had finalized the deal in August, but US President Donald Trump had abruptly called off the talks in early September after a Taliban-claimed attack killed an American soldier and 10 other people. Taliban and the US are expected to issue statements in a couple of days about the date of signing of the agreement and a week-long reduction in violence.A senior Taliban negotiator Abdul Salam Hanafi has said Afghan government will free 5000 Taliban prisoners until March 10 under the peace agreement. Taliban will also release about 1000 prisoners of the Afghan government.He said all Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, UN Security Council members, Islamic countries, European countries and the countries involved in the Afghan peace process and some organisations like the UN, OIC and European Union will be invited to the signing in ceremony as witness.Germany and Norway have offered to host the intra-Afghan dialogue. However, no decision has yet been about the venue of the intra-Afghan dialogue.Ambassador Khalilzad briefed the Pakistani leaders about the latest developments in the context of the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.Prime Minister’s office said that Imran Khan welcomed the recent progress in peace talks between the US and Taliban and expressed the hope that the peace deal would be signed at the earliest to be followed by intra-Afghan dialogue for working out a settlement for sustained peace and stability in Afghanistan.He underlined that Pakistan had facilitated the Afghan peace and reconciliation process as it genuinely believed that after Afghanistan it stood to benefit the most from peace and stability in that country. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve and continued commitment to the Afghan peace process.The Prime Minister further underlined that sustained peace and stability in Afghanistan would contribute positively to connectivity and regional prosperity as well.