PM, Pence review Afghan peace push amid signs of thaw

NSA Nasser Janjua with Dr Abdullah in Kabul
NSA Nasser Janjua with Dr Abdullah in Kabul
Author

19 March, 2018

In a harsh criticism of Islamabad, President Trump said then, "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools".

Prime Minister Abbasi arrived in Washington on Wednesday to be with his elder sister - not Senator Sadia Abbasi - who underwent a disc-surgery at a Washington hospital.

The Pakistan Embassy had denied any such meetings, including the one apparently with the Vice President Mike Pence at his residence. The Dawn reported that hours after Pence-Abbasi meeting, senior Trump administration officials held a special briefing for Washington-based journalists to convey their dissatisfaction with Pakistan's Afghanistan policy.

According to the Dawn newspaper, which reported first reported about the meeting, Mr. Pence told the Pakistani Prime Minister that the Trump Administration could take unilateral actions if there was no satisfactory counter-terrorism action from Pakistan.

The White House in a statement said, "Vice President Pence reiterated that President Trump's request that the Pakistan government must do more to eradicate the continued presence of Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other terror groups opearting on their soil". "The prime minister assured the U.S. leader that no other state wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan does, as it will be a direct beneficiary of this peace", the newspaper quoted an unidentified official as saying. "We're certainly not walking away from Pakistan".

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The Trump administration has shown their dissatifaction with Pakistan's Afghanistan policy.

During the 30-minute meeting, Pence emphasised the need for immediate action from Pakistan to stop cross-border attacks. Even, Ambassador Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department had also remarked that the U.S. has not yet seen "decisive or sustained changes" in Pakistan's behaviour.

Earlier on March 16, a senior US official told reporters that Pakistan is doing the "bare minimum" needed to address USA demands that it stop the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network from operating within its borders. We have communicated clearly to Pakistan to what we mean by decisive action.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month proposed peace talks with the Taliban , which could eventually be recognised as a political party if it observes a ceasefire and officially recognises the Afghan government and constitution.


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