Thursday, 21 March, 2019

No Decisive And Sustained Change In Pakistan's Behaviour After Aid Freeze

Volume of bilateral trade has plummeted by massive 50pc Volume of bilateral trade has plummeted by massive 50pc
Patty Aguilar | 07 March, 2018, 23:30

"Secretary Janjua was reaching Washington on Tuesday but now she will come on Wednesday", said an official source, adding that "the delay will not impact her meetings with United States officials on Thursday".

"This is not a surrender that's being offered to the Taliban, but a dignified process for reaching a political framework", she added, noting that the Kabul conference was "really a historic benchmark event".

The Afghan Taliban have yet to formally respond to the offer.

That statement however made no mention of negotiating with the Afghan government, a condition which the U.S. has long stated is vital to any peace process.

In January, a BBC study found that the Afghan Taliban directly controlled four percent of the country, but were openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan.

Noting that the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship is quite important, she said the USA is supportive of the efforts to improve the bilateral relationship. "Pakistan has an important role to play in helping to stabilise Afghanistan."She also conceded that the suspension of USA security aid to Pakistan had failed to force Islamabad to change its policies".

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"We believe that Pakistan can certainly help to facilitate talks and to take actions that will put pressure on and encourage the Taliban to move forward towards a politically negotiated settlement", Ms Wells said in response to a question.

"Pakistani officials have underscored, they see a variety of issues, whether it's border management or refugees or terrorism that emanates from ungoverned space in Afghanistan, as important issues, and we would agree that all of these need to be resolved during the course of a reconciliation process", Ms Wells said. Pakistan denies the charge. "We have a series of high-level exchanges", said Ms Wells, indicating that the foreign secretary's visit will lead to more talks with Pakistan, both in Washington and Islamabad.

The top Pakistani diplomat is also schedule to have some meetings with think tanks and meet officials of the National Security Council.

While while announcing his new Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August previous year, President Trump had said the USA can no longer be silent about Pakistans safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.

Pakistan recently faced an worldwide setback at a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris, where it was chose to place the country on the global organisation's "grey list", for not doing enough to clamp down on the financing of armed groups, including those that target regional rival India.

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