WASHINGTON: Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said Friday that cooperation between Pakistan and the United States (US) is critical to achieving stability in Afghanistan, adding that any confrontation at this point of time is not in the interest of either country.
“Pakistan and the US have the same objective, to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan,” he said in an interview with Pamela Constable, Afghanistan and Pakistan Bureau Chief of the Washington Post. “This can only be achieved if both the countries work together in the same direction,” he added.
Responding to a question, the ambassador said that nearly half of Afghanistan was unstable which was a source of concern for Pakistan, Central Asia and China, adding that it was not in the interest of either Pakistan or the US to drift apart at this point in time.
During the interview, Ambassador Chaudhry stated that the message by the US leadership had not gone well with Pakistan and its people, and President Trump’s tweet was rather a surprise for all.
Commenting on the resulted stand-off that many foreign policy experts say would be counterproductive to the efforts for stabilising Afghanistan, Ambassador Chaudhry said that Pakistan wanted to avoid confrontation with the United States. “The United States takes a step and then Pakistan takes another step and both the countries drift apart…I don’t think it is in the interest of either country,” he remarked.
The ambassador also said that Pakistan was confused by President Trump’s tweet accusing Pakistan of “lies and deceit” because both Secretary Rex Tillerson and Secretary Mattis during their visits to Pakistan carried the same message about working on a common ground with Pakistan.
In another interview, Ambassador Chaudhry remarked that the two countries should remain engaged with each other in order to avoid steps that could create tensions and destabilise the region. “We should not be on a collision course,” he stated.
Besides talking to the leading electronic media channels, Ambassador Chaudhry had many off-the-record meetings with the mainstream US media including Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and others to narrate Pakistan’s point of view over current development in Pak-US relations.