ISLAMABAD: A high-level US delegation on Thursday met Pakistan’s top foreign affairs officials and military chief General Bajwa to discuss regional security and future strategy on Afghanistan and rest of the issues in the South Asia region.
“The two sides reviewed the state of play in the relationship in wake of the US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia and agreed to continue discussions on all matters of mutual interest,” an official handout said.
The US delegation met with Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and took part in a meeting with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and a Pakistani inter-agency team.
The US delegation also met with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and welcomed Bajwa’s recent initiative in leading an interagency team on a visit to Kabul to explore cooperation with Afghanistan.
In all meetings with Pakistan’s leaders, the US delegation expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.
The delegation noted that Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with US efforts in the region, including the establishment of a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, the defeat of ISIS in South Asia, and the elimination of terrorist groups that threaten both Pakistan and the United States. US delegation pledged a continued robust dialogue with the government of Pakistan as we implement the new South Asia Strategy.
The delegation also expressed their gratitude to the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani Army in particular for their cooperation in securing the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity.
The US delegation was led by Lisa Curtis, the Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South Asia, comprised of Acting Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence David Helvey and other senior officials from Departments of State, Defence and the US embassy in Islamabad.
While, Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani side, which included senior officials from ministry of foreign affairs and other relevant departments.
Reiterating Pakistan’s stance for a politically negotiated settlement owned and led by the Afghans, the foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s constructive participation in all regional and bilateral mechanisms aimed at pursuing a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict.
Tehmina underscored Pakistan’s commitment to good neighbourly relations and highlighted various initiatives to improve relations with Afghanistan.
“The US delegation was informed about the atrocities and human rights violations being committed by the Indian forces in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), resulting in hundreds of casualties.
The U.S. officials visited Pakistan at a time when the relationship between the two countries are seen under pressure following U.S. President Donald Trump’s tough stance against Pakistan in his policy for Afghanistan and South Asia in August.
Islamabad has been asking Washington not to make Pakistan scapegoat for its failure in Afghanistan.