United States seeks Pakistan's help to establish peace in Afghanistan: PM

PML-N leader Miftah Ismail says the US thinks it can get the Afghanistan issue resolved by pressurising Pakistan. — Geo News FILE

PML-N leader Miftah Ismail says the US thinks it can get the Afghanistan issue resolved by pressurising Pakistan. — Geo News FILE

The Trump administration, in the recent months, has intensified its efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of America's longest war in Afghanistan where the United States has lost over 2,400 soldiers since late 2001, when it invaded the country after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The trip is aimed at supporting and facilitating an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan while empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation's fate, the US Department of State said last week.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that the country has always played its role to bring peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan and would continue to do so.

"We continue to see the Taliban being utilised as a hedge against India rather than as part of a stable, reconciled Afghanistan", McKenzie said. Imran said he personally wished for regional peace and that Trump's letter urging Pakistan to back peace was welcomed.

After visiting Pakistan, the US special envoy traveled to Kabul where he held meetings Thursday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.Khalilzad then left for Moscow for discussions with Russian officials on regional peace efforts, said the USA embassy in Afghanistan. "That is how as much as we can we will facilitate", the spokesman explained when asked what Pakistan could do to nudge the insurgents to engage in peace negotiations. It is the responsibility of all countries to remain alongside the Afghan security forces and help them in fighting terrorism.

"Taking concrete steps that deny VEO safe havens in Pakistan, as well as VEO freedom of movement from Pakistan to Afghanistan, remains an important task that Pakistan needs to fulfil". So, they [the Taliban] have families and links here.

"Our will for ensuring peace in Afghanistan is serious", Ghani said as quoted in the statement.

"The security situation in Afghanistan remains hard, we have seen a number of high profile attacks in the past month, but the Afghan forces stand firms so do we".

It is in Pakistan's long-term interest to have a government in Afghanistan that is stable, and that that they can do business with, he said.

"I have been saying this for 15 years that negotiations are the only solution to Afghan problem", said he.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, he said PTI's viewpoint was now being vindicated by US Special Representative Zamlay Khalilzad rest of the world. McKenzie said that the meeting was to see if the U.S. can find some way forward. "So it may actually become worse before it becomes better", he told reporters.

"Ambassador Khalilzad stressed the United States' commitment to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for worldwide terrorism and ends the 40-years-long war in the country", noted the embassy statement.

Still, in Washington this week Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie warned the Senate Armed Services Committee against an abrupt withdrawal of American forces or change in strategy.

"If we left precipitously right now I do not believe they would be able to successfully defend their country", he said, adding that "the operational military situation is largely stalemated".

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