Pakistan on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of allowing the US to operate a military base or conduct drone operations inside neighboring Afghanistan from its soil.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the Senate, or upper house of parliament, that there are no such arrangements with Washington, Islamabad’s longtime ally in the so-called war against terrorism.
“Let this House and the Pakistani nation be a witness to my testimony that under Prime Minister Imran Khan, there will be no American base on Pakistani soil,” FM Qureshi said.
“Forget about the past,” he added, referring to the reported establishment of a US base in Pakistan during the Cold War against the former Soviet Union.
“We will not allow the kinetic use of drones, nor are we interested in monitoring your drones. This a very clear-cut policy of this government,” the top diplomat maintained.
Pakistani Foreign minister:
– “there’ll be no American base built on Pakistani soil. Forget about the past”.
– “The government of Pakistan has categorically said we will not allow kinetic use of drones nor are we interested in their drone surveillance”.
— Wars on the Brink (@WOTB07) May 25, 2021
The clarification came amid reports that the two allies are negotiating a new settlement to facilitate future US counterterrorism operations in war-torn Afghanistan following the withdrawal of foreign troops in line with the 2020 Doha peace deal with the Taliban.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi termed the reports “baseless” and “speculative.”
His statement came a day after Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said that Central Asian neighbors Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will not allow Washington to establish military bases on their soil.
Read more: How India lost Afghanistan to Pakistan?
Under the Doha deal, some 2,500 US and over 7,000 NATO troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Sept.11 this year. In return, the Taliban will prevent terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country, including the US.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk