PESHAWAR - The Trump administration has voiced stout support for the normalisation of Kabul link-Islamabad relations that led to Pakistan link Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit to Kabul this week.
Pakistan had taken steps to combat terrorismon its soil but more “sustainable and irreversible” actions were needed to eradicate the menace, a senior US diplomat said in an interview published on Monday.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells told The Hindu: “The Afghanistan link-Pakistan talks have been underway ever since Gen Bajwa went to Kabul in October 2017.”
In response to the suggestion that Abbasi’s visit was one of the outcomes of her recent trips to Kabul and Islamabad, she said:“We are very supportive of that, but it is not a US process.
“I think it is an excellent initiative between the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to strengthen their bilateral relationship,” the diplomat added.
Until the neighbours had more normal relations, she said, it was impossible to talk about broader reconciliation. “We support the framework agreement that they are seeking to formalise and the action groups that are embedded in it.”
She went on to stress concrete steps to improve the relations between the two countries on all fronts -- from bilateral trade to border management and the presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism, Wells acknowledged: “I always say that terrorists who attack Pakistan are also enemies of the United States. We have an agenda, we believe we have shared interests and Pakistan has a stake in a stable Afghanistan . So how do we make that calculus work?”