ISLAMABAD: The US Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ambassador Alice Wells visited Islamabad on January 15-16 and held meetings with Pakistani officials.
Wells on Monday arrived in Islamabad to hold meetings with Pakistani officials, the first visit from a senior American official since President Trump’s New Year Tweet in which he accused Pakistan of giving Washington nothing but “lies and deceit”.
According to the statement issued by US Embassy in Pakistan, in her meetings with Pakistani officials, Ambassador Wells underlined that the United States seeks to move toward a new relationship with Pakistan, based on mutual interest in realizing a stable and prosperous region.
Acknowledging Pakistan’s considerable sacrifices fighting terrorism, Ambassador Wells emphasized that the US South Asia strategy represents an opportunity to work together for the establishment of a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, the defeat of Daesh in South Asia, and the elimination of terrorist groups that threaten both Pakistan and the United States.
Wells urged the government of Pakistan to address the continuing presence of the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups within its territory.
Also, the top US military officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, said on Monday he was committed to the US-Pakistan relationship, which has been strained in recent weeks as Washington piles pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militants.
“Do we agree on everything right now? No we don‘t. But are we committed to a more effective relationship with Pakistan? We are. And I‘m not giving up on that,” Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters during a trip to Brussels.
Pakistan is a crucial gateway for U.S. military supplies destined for U.S. and other troops fighting a 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump’s administration, frustrated over Pakistan’s failure to do more to combat militants, announced a plan to suspend up to roughly $2 billion in U.S. security assistance.
That triggered outcry in Islamabad. Pakistan’s Army Chief told U.S. General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, that Pakistan “felt betrayed” by U.S. criticism.