Trump did not blame Pakistan for failure in Afghanistan: US envoy

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale on Thursday said that President Trump did not blame Pakistan for failure in Afghanistan.
He was talking to National Security Adviser Lt Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua here in a meeting which continue for about an hour.
The meeting discussed President Trump’s strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia, announced by President Trump on August 20 in his address at Fort Myers.
The NSA and the Ambassador both reiterated to work closely to find solution for the closure of conflict in Afghanistan.
Ambassador Hale said that the press had generally taken the policy piece by piece instead of interpreting it as a whole. He clarified that President Trump did not blame Pakistan for failure in Afghanistan. It was also wrong to assume that the policy recommended a purely military solution or that engagement with Pakistan had been ruled out. Military strategy, he said, was just one piece of the policy which espoused a political solution.
US Ambassador displayed a cooperative outlook and expressed his desire to work closely with Pakistan to find solutions.
The policy, he added, supported the role of regional countries in a peaceful settlement where Pakistan had an important role to play. The U.S. was thinking of reviving and accelerating the QCG and the Six-plus-One process on Afghanistan where Pakistan will have a leading role. U.S. recognized Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror and hoped that it would continue to play its cooperative role.
The Ambassador further clarified that additional troops in Afghanistan will be deployed as trainers of Afghan Armed Forces. Enhanced authority for decision making given to field commanders meant quick action against all terrorist groups, including the TTP who are enemy of Pakistan.
“Kabul Government had also been called upon to realign itself for playing its full role in controlling the insurgency and winning over the hearts and minds of its people while improving its governance,” the Ambassador underlined.
Regarding the role envisaged for India, the Ambassador said his Government was aware about the feelings in Pakistan on this matter and was ready to play its role in reducing tensions between the two neighbours. He further clarified that India’s role was envisaged for economic development only.
Thanking Ambassador for the cooperative outlook, NSA said that Pakistan was taking its time to fully examine the new policy and considering all options and would like to receive further details from the U.S. side. This notwithstanding, President Trump’s address at Fort Myers was disappointing and had deeply hurt the feelings of the Government and the people of Pakistan.
Pakistan had been wrongly blamed, threatened and negatively projected to the world which was unacceptable. Our nuclear weapons were wrongly linked with terrorism which was totally uncalled for. The new policy has created uncertainties and further added to the regional fragility and imbalance. That is why the people, the Parliament and the Government had sharply reacted to President Trump’s statement.
NSA stressed the need for working together to stabilize Afghanistan. He said we all should work together to “Seek the Closure of Conflict” in Afghanistan instead of winning it. Victory in war, he said, resides in the way war is prosecuted. He identified faulty persecution of war in Afghanistan as the reason of rise in violence.

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