American diplomat Alice Wells on Monday acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in eradicating terrorism and conveyed the US’s desire to work with Pakistan in furthering the shared objective of stabilizing Afghanistan.
Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state, was in Pakistan along with senior officials from the US National Security Council for a scheduled dialogue on bilateral and regional cooperation. She argued that, as an immediate neighbor and important country of the region, Pakistan’s support was critical to the success of US strategy in Afghanistan
She also underlined the need for strengthening intelligence cooperation between the two sides to improve coordination in counter-terrorism efforts.
Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, who, along with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, received Ambassador Wells, underscored that the relationship with the United States needed to move forward in an environment of mutual trust and respect.
The US delegation was apprised about recent counter-terrorism actions taken by Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies, which have contributed to “a visible improvement in the security situation of Pakistan”, the Foreign Office said. It was mentioned that these “comprehensive counter-terrorism actions would also contribute towards peace and stability in the entire region.”
In the context of the regional situation, 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.
“Early repatriation of Afghan refugees was also important for improving relations with Afghanistan,” she emphasised.
The foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue its efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.
The foreign secretary also drew the attention of the US delegation to recent irresponsible statements made by the Indian army chief and the pattern of escalation by India on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, and condemned the Indian use of improvised explosive devices resulting in the martyrdom of Pakistani soldiers on Sunday. She asked the US side to advise restraint to India and stop its escalation tactics.
The two sides agreed that all initiatives owned and led by the Afghans for seeking a peaceful solution should be supported by regional countries.
The Pak-US relation hit its nadir at the beginning of 2018 with US President Donald Trump’s scathing criticism of Pakistan, in which he accused the country of giving the US “nothing but lies and deceit”, subsequently withholding $255m in military aid.
Since then, tempers have cooled off a bit, with the Commander US Central Command telling Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa that the recent turbulence in the two countries’ relationship remains “a temporary phase”.