Hutchison says Pakistan has a chance to be a major force for a good
BRUSSELS: US Ambassador to North Atlantic Alliance Kay Bailey Hutchison called on Pakistan to work with the United States and with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to stop the treacherous activities of the Taliban.
“Pakistan has a chance to be a major force for good if they will,” he told journalists here in Brussels ahead of the two-day NATO defence ministers meeting which will start on February 14 (today). “The next step for them is to work with us,” he said.
“To come together to see how can get the Taliban to lay down their activities and become a part of a unified Afghanistan that would be a strong neighbour of Pakistan,” Hutchison added. The government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will urge NATO peers to increase military spending during the upcoming meeting at Brussels. The US also wants to bolster cooperation among its NATO allies as Washington puts the threat from Moscow at the forefront of its new national defence strategy.
All but three of the EU’s 28 states agreed in December to push for closer military ties between the bloc’s members to boost common defence. The new European arrangement, known as permanent structured cooperation, or PESCO, will initially see members focus on 17 areas, including military training, cyber defence and improving force mobility in Europe.
EU officials have hailed the PESCO agreement, signed by all its members except the UK, Denmark and Malta, as a landmark, stressing that it is meant to complement rather than compete with NATO. Ahead of the NATO meeting, Mattis said that the US would look to address alliance modernisation and burden-sharing as they have for years.
“We continue today to press for everyone carrying their full share of the load, fair share of the load,” he said.