US delegation to arrive in Pakistan on Monday

Islamabad, Aug 4 (IANS) A US delegation will reach Islamabad on Monday for talks with Pakistani officials, as the Afghan peace process intensifies and could lead to a presidential visit to the region, if it succeeds, a media report said on Sunday.

In Washington, diplomatic sources told Dawn news that Alice Wells, US President Donald Trump's administration's point-person for South and Central Asia, was going to be a part of the delegation.

The sources said this would be a follow-up of the US-Pakistan consultations that began in Washington when Prime Minister Imran Khan visited and met Trump at the White House on July 22.

They also said if the ongoing Doha talks led to an agreement between the US and Taliban, President Trump might visit Afghanistan in September to finalise the deal.

And if Trump visits Afghanistan, Pakistan would try to bring him to Islamabad as well to further strengthen the impression that relations between Islamabad and Washington are improving rapidly, according to the sources.

Although close allies once, relations between the US and Pakistan deteriorated after May 2011, when the American intelligence discovered Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and a team of US Navy Seals took him out, said Dawn news.

But ties began to improve late last year, when Pakistan persuaded the Taliban to hold direct talks with Washington.

Since then, the two sides have held eight rounds of talks in as many months and on Saturday they began yet another.

--IANS

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