Great potential to deepen US-Pakistan relations: Aizaz

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Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry takes a seat after speaking at the Atlantic Council June 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, in an interview to Cipher Brief, Thursday said there was a great potential to deepen US-Pakistan relations since both the countries enjoyed historic ties spanning over several decades.

He discussed current US-Pakistani relations as well as current instability in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Chaudhry said the relationship between the two countries is diverse and wide-ranging, covering different strands, including infrastructure development, economy and trade, counterterrorism, and defence cooperation. Besides, he added, the million-strong presence of Pakistani-Americans living in the US serves as an enduring linkage between the two countries.

On the question regarding Pakistan’s support for Haqqani Network and Taliban, he said, Pakistan, being the immediate neighbour of Afghanistan, has suffered the most from instability inside Afghanistan. In fact, he continued, Pakistan’s successful counterterrorism operations and recent economic revival face risks because of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

According to various US reports and briefings, many militants crossed over to Afghanistan following Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), he said. “Because these escaping militants could not be captured or stopped due to capacity constraints on the other side of the border, they established safe havens and sanctuaries inside Afghanistan,” he claimed, adding the renewed wave of insurgency in Afghanistan is being driven from these internal sanctuaries.

“Pakistan’s intelligence agency and our law enforcement authorities have played a critical role in decimating al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks in the region,” the ambassador informed.

Discussing Pakistan’s push for the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government, he claimed negotiating with Taliban remains a responsibility of the Afghan government since they are the direct stakeholders for peace in their country. “Pakistan’s role is that of a facilitator, along with the US and other players in the region. We have assured our friends that Pakistan is prepared to contribute on its part since we wish peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

Chaudhry, further elaborating on the topic of US-Pakistan relations, said building mutual trust between Pakistan and the US would be important to promote peace in the region.

“The history tells us that when our two countries collaborated with mutual cooperation, positive results were achieved, for example, in the fight against al-Qaeda. That is why we believe that trust and mutual respect should constitute the key pillar of Pakistan-US relationship, as both the countries genuinely desire peace and stability in the region,” the ambassador concluded.

The Donald Trump Administration is in the middle of setting its policy for the way forward in Afghanistan, and it will also need to consider the role of Pakistan in helping secure the region.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Is he oblivious to the Senior Senator John Mccain’s statement on terrorism? It is a clear warning to Pakistan wise-up do the right thing or else…!

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