ISLAMABAD: US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Alice Wells on Monday said that Pakistan’s support is critical to the success of American strategy in Afghanistan.
In a meeting with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua at Foreign Office in Islamabad, Ambassador Wells acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in eradicating terrorism and conveyed the US’ desire to work with Pakistan in furthering the shared objectives of stabilizing Afghanistan.
She was accompanied by senior officials from US National Security Council and Ambassador David Hale.
According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release, the visit was part of regular engagement between the two countries on bilateral and regional cooperation.
During the meeting, Foreign Secretary Janjua underscored that Pakistan’s relationship with the United States needed to move forward in an environment of mutual trust and respect.
Janjua, assisted by senior foreign office officials, informed the US delegation about counter-terrorism actions taken by Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies that contributed to the visible improvement in the security situation of Pakistan. It was mentioned that these comprehensive counter-terrorism actions would also contribute towards peace and stability in the entire region.
The foreign secretary expressed concerns on the continued use of Afghan soil by elements hostile to Pakistan’s stability. She added that strengthening border management mechanisms between Pakistan and Afghanistan was vital to addressing concerns relating to cross-border movements.
Tehmina Janjua emphasised that the early repatriation of Afghan refugees was also important for improving relations with Afghanistan. The foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue its efforts for promoting peace and stability in the region.
The foreign secretary also drew the attention of the US delegation to the recent irresponsible statement by the Indian army chief and the pattern of escalation by India on the LoC and the working boundary and condemned Indian mortar attacks on Pakistani posts resulting in the martyrdom of Pakistani soldiers on Sunday. She asked the US side to advise restraint to India and stop its escalation tactics.
She argued that as an immediate neighbour and important country of the region, Pakistan’s support was critical to the success of the US strategy for Afghanistan.
To this end, Ambassador Wells underlined the need for strengthening intelligence cooperation between the two sides to improve coordination in counter-terrorism efforts.
The two sides agreed that all initiatives owned and led by the Afghans for seeking a peaceful solution should be supported by the regional countries. Pakistan’s positive role in several peace initiatives was appreciated.
This is third visit by Wells to Pakistan since August 2017, and the first of a senior US government official following the US president’s Twitter outburst against Pakistan earlier this month.