In a news conference on Wednesday, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Pakistan and the US have a common interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The State Department’s remark that Pakistan is an essential partner on many fronts came after Pakistan’s leadership made a series of comments criticising the US for pursuing the terror fight.
“Pakistan has been a helpful and constructive partner when it comes to Afghanistan and our collective efforts to bring about some semblance of peace and security there,” the spokesperson added.
Price said that the US and Pakistan’s interests go well beyond that, including wider counter-terrorism objectives and the people-to-people connections that bind our two nations together.
All of Afghanistan’s neighbours, he added, must play a positive role in bringing about a long-term political solution and a complete ceasefire.
He said that the US will work closely with Afghanistan’s neighbours to ensure that they play a positive role in the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a lengthy speech to the National Assembly last month in which he emphasised that Pakistan could work with the US in peace, but never in conflict.
“The US was defeated in Afghanistan and they tried to shift the blame of their defeat on us,” PM Imran Khan had said.
According to the prime minister, Afghanis are Pakistanis’ brothers, and Islamabad knows them better than Washington. “We have decided to not comprise on the country’s sovereignty.”
The premier had said Pakistan chose to aid America in the war against terror “but after that, we captured our own people and sent them to Guantanamo Bay — and former president Pervez Musharraf admitted this”.
Pakistanis were unable to distinguish between allies and foes during the fight on terror, according to Prime Minister Imran Khan. He wondered aloud, “Does a country attack an ally?”
The premier said that the government at that time — during the war on terror — “did not have the courage to say no to the US and kept on lying to the people”.
“We must understand that when a nation does not respect itself, it is not respected by the world […] we only want peace to prevail in Afghanistan, and that is in our best interest.”