In a new development, US has hinted at addressing Pakistan's concerns
WASHINGTON – In a first, US has hinted at addressing the concerns made by Pakistan regarding the Afghan war and assured to engage with Pakistan in removing Pakistan's concerns. United States has acknowledged that Pakistan had legitimate grievances and the United States was willing to address those concerns.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells confirmed on Monday that senior US and Pakistani officials will hold a series of meetings in Washington and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua will lead the Pakistani delegation.
“We’re certainly not walking away from Pakistan. There will be very intensive dialogue through both our military and our civilian channels to discuss how we can work together,” Ms Wells said and declared that Pakistan had an important role to play in stabilizing Afghanistan.
Contrary to the popular perception that the suspension of aid to Pakistan would be effective, the US official conceded that the suspension of US security aid to Pakistan had failed to force Islamabad to change its policies.
“We’ve not seen decisive and sustained changes yet in Pakistan’s behavior, but certainly, we are continuing to engage with Pakistan over areas where we think they can play a helpful role in changing the calculus of the Taliban,” said Wells.
It bears mentioning that Secretary Janjua headed to Washington on a crucial visit earlier this week to mend the frayed relations between the allies.
The current visit is important in the purview of strained ties between Washington and Islamabad, especially after President Trump’s decision to halt the aid to Pakistan.
Ms Wells said that at the State Department, Secretary Janjua will meet Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, dismissing earlier speculations that the visitors may only meet junior level officials.
Last week, a senior director for South and Central Asia at the White House National Security Council, Lisa Curtis, visited Islamabad to discuss the bilateral issue and Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism.
Alice Wells told reporters she had been struck by Ghani’s proposal regarding peace talks with Taliban, to let them open office in Kabul.
“I heard him offering a dignified process,” she said.
“This is not a surrender that’s being offered to the Taliban, but a dignified process for reaching a political framework,” she added, noting that the Kabul conference was “really a historic benchmark event.”