News Analysis |
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is likely to meet US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.
According to Dawn, the meeting, being dubbed one of the most important engagements of the prime minister on UNGA margins, is likely to take place on Tuesday. The prime minister would also be meeting UN Secretary-General António Guterres and a number of other world leaders. Some of those meetings are being planned.
The meeting might further reduce the distrust between Islamabad and Washington and will pave way for cooperation to end the war in Afghanistan
Fractious Pakistan-US relations got further strained last month when President Trump unveiled his administration’s policy on Afghanistan and South Asia.
Soon after the announcement of Trump’s Afghan policy, Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the Afghan war should be fought in Afghanistan; Pakistan will not allow anyone to wage the war in its territory. He also said that the new US policy for Afghanistan will also fail while stressing the need for a political solution in that country. He expressed these thoughts in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg News.
Read more: The illegality of Trump’s ‘Afghanistan war’
While unveiling the new South Asia strategy, President Trump had called upon Pakistan to give up supporting “agents of chaos” and providing sanctuaries to terrorists that are fighting the US. The Pakistani civilian and leadership has rejected all allegations and has retorted by demanding the US to act against anti-Pakistani elements inside Afghanistan. The US has warned to revoke Pakistan’s ally status and even hinted at strikes inside Pakistan.
Pakistan, on the other hand, is very clear as to what it has to do: a need to eke-out more from other stakeholders in the Afghan saga
Abbasi said Pakistan is willing to work with all countries including India in a quest for regional stability. He said: “If they require our support, our support is available. Our support is unconditional as far as terrorism is concerned.” However, he iterated that the peace process should be owned by Afghanistan.
A faulty approach
Abbasi went on to criticize the new strategy; he said that a political settlement must be reached in Afghanistan. “From day one we have been saying very clearly the military strategy in Afghanistan has not worked and it will not work,” said Abbasi, adding himself to the list of those who have berated the military-heavy policy.
The ground realities, history, and the current stance of the Taliban make this a far-shot. Abbasi hence stressed the need for a political solution
Trump has ratified the deployment of more US troops for an indefinite period with a vague aim of killing terrorists, something which the Taliban have vowed to respond to.
However, the US still is optimistic that the Taliban can be militarily defeated and eventually compelled into negotiations. The ground realities, history, and the current stance of the Taliban makes this a far-shot. Abbasi hence stressed the need for a political solution.
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said that the US wants to talk from a position of strength. He said that the US has been clear in “sending a message to the Taliban that we are not going anywhere”. He added that the US moves would be “dictated by conditions on the ground, informed by battlefield commanders”.
The Pakistani civilian and leadership has rejected all allegations and has retorted by demanding the US to act against anti-Pakistani elements inside Afghanistan
While Trump’s new plan has not been well-received, it remains to be seen if some flexibility is accorded in the new scheme of things. Pakistan, on the other hand, is very clear as to what it has to do: a need to eke-out more from other stakeholders in the Afghan saga.
Despite challenges in their relationship, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US have launched a new trilateral mechanism to counter Daesh threat. A meeting of the trilateral process was hosted by Afghanistan on Thursday where the three pledged to continue the fight against the common threat of terrorism. This meeting might further reduce the distrust between Islamabad and Washington and will pave way for cooperation to end the war in Afghanistan.