US Defence secretary wants to improve Pak-US ties
Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin on Tuesday discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan amid an escalation of violence in the war-torn country.
According to a press release issued by Pentagon, Austin and General Bajwa, in a telephonic conversation, discussed mutual goals of security and stability in the region.
Austin expressed interest in continuing to improve the US-Pakistan relationship and building upon multiple shared interests in the region.
The two sides also discussed the bilateral defence relationship and regional security and stability with reference to Afghanistan.
The call comes at a time when Afghan Taliban are gaining control over land and the US forces are in the final stages of withdrawing from the country.
US and NATO forces are due to completely pullout from the country by the end of this month.
The Taliban advances may appear startling in their speed but were not unexpected in Washington as the US military completes the pullout ordered by Biden by August 31.
On August 1, National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf said Pakistan and the United States needed to work “more closely” amid evolving situation in Afghanistan.
He had further said that Pakistan will not accept a forceful takeover in Afghanistan and instead support a political solution to the war-torn country’s conflict.
“We will not accept a forceful takeover,” he told reporters at a press conference held at the Pakistan embassy in Washington during his recent visit to the US.
The NSA stressed that the only solution for peace in Afghanistan was a “political one”.
We have made it absolutely clear that we are with the international community on where this goes,” he said. “But the world also needs to be clear that the US invests in a political settlement.”
Dr Yusuf said the harsh rhetoric of the Afghan government against Pakistan was making it impossible to maintain good relations between the neighbours.
“We are beginning to see a very conscious, deliberate effort by the Afghan government to scapegoat Pakistan,” he said, adding that Afghanistan wanted to shift the entire blame of its failures onto Islamabad.
He reiterated that although Pakistan wanted to have very good relations with the Afghan government, “unfortunately, the vitriol and rhetoric coming from there is making that impossible”.
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