- Alice Wells tells Tehmina Janjua Pakistan’s support critical for peace in Afghanistan
- Says US wants to eradicate ‘non-state actors’ and terrorism from region
United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells has said the US wants “positive and constructive” relations with Pakistan.
“Pakistan is an important country in the region [South Asia] with an important part to play,” she said while talking to BBC Urdu.
Responding to a question regarding the expectations from the new Pakistani government, Wells said that the US has the same expectations from Pakistan that it has from other countries in South Asia.
“We comply with South Asia’s policy of eradicating ‘non-state actors’ and want to eliminate terrorism and terroist proxies in the region,” the American diplomat added.
Discussing Prime Minister Imran Khan and US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s meeting, she said that the two officials “discussed positive and constructive relations between the two countries”. Wells further said, “We have told Pakistan before that terrorists’ groups are still active in the country and they need to be eliminated.”
Speaking about Pakistan and its neighbours, the American envoy said, “We welcome the statements from PM Imran about peace with neighbours and any steps taken by Pakistan regarding this.”
“Pakistan needs to support economic stability in Afghanistan and give permission to things being brought from Afghanistan to India,” she went on to say.
Stating that the economic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are of the utmost importance to the peace in the East and West, she said, “Border management between Pakistan and Afghanistan is important.”
“US is not in favour of any cross-border terrorism. We know Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) takes advantage of the fact the government has no authority in Afghanistan,” she said, adding that the US is working towards bilateral talks between the two countries.
The US wants to eliminate any more ‘Mullah Fazlullah type terrorist groups’ in the country, she went on to say. “Establishing peace in the country is a top priority. Both the countries have witnessed a wave of terrorism,” she said.
Moreover, she said, “Afghanistan is working towards convincing Taliban for peace talks just like Pakistan is working towards peace in the region.”
JANJUA, WELLS MEET:
Separately, Alice Wells told Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua that the US looked forward to working with the new government and Pakistan’s support was critical for peace in Afghanistan as she appreciated the new government’s policy of reaching out to the Afghan government.
In a meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing UN summit, both dignitaries discussed bilateral relations, the situation in Afghanistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).
During the meeting, the foreign secretary said Pakistan desired a broad relationship with the US that was based on mutual respect and shared interests.
Pakistan, she said, wanted to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Highlighting the steps taken to engage with the Afghan government, she reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for a comprehensive political reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
The secretary further reiterated Pakistan’s concern over the presence of ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan, which are exploited by militant groups for launching terrorist attacks in the region.
Janjua also briefed Wells on the measures Pakistan was taking to secure the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Janjua drew the senior US official’s attention to the ongoing human rights violations being committed by Indian occupying forces in the occupied valley. She said recent events had again demonstrated India’s stubborn unwillingness to engage with Pakistan.