US Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G Wells on Monday welcomed the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on peace with India and Afghanistan.
“We welcome the words of Prime Minister Imran Khan when he discussed the importance of having peace on both sides of Pakistan’s border,” Wells said, adding that the US is looking forward to working with the new government.
She expressed these views while briefing the media on US Policy in the Indian Ocean region. Acknowledging Pakistan’s role in the stabilisation of Afghanistan, the US deputy assistant secretary said, “We have encouraged Pakistan to take stronger steps to ensure that the Taliban either come to the negotiating table or are expelled back into Afghanistan rather than enjoying safe havens outside of the country.”
Wells said it is high time to hold peace talks in Afghanistan as all the parties including Taliban fighters are tired of fighting. “At a time when Afghan people are calling for peace, at a time when we saw reaction to initial ceasefire at Eidul Fitr, spontaneously people demonstrated and Taliban soldiers demonstrated that they were tired of war, you know this is the time for all parties to come to the negotiation table.” She said that they are looking “to Pakistan to reinforce that message.”
Commenting on India’s role in Afghanistan, Wells said one of the key new features of the US’ South Asia strategy is tapping into India’s $3 billion dollar commitment in support of Afghanistan’s economic development.
She said it is welcoming that India has stepped up and has showed this commitment. Wells said, however, India’s strategic relationship with Afghanistan “does not have to come at the expense of any other country in the region.”