News Desk |
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua, asserted that both Pakistan and the US are thoughtful on the process of reconciliation in Afghanistan. She had completed her two day visit to Washington on March 9, 2018, and held two high-level official meetings on Thursday afternoon at the White House and the State Department.
Both countries have well acknowledged the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani’s initiative to hold unconditional peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. Ms. Janjua stated, “We conveyed our concerns. They reiterated their concerns. The message was; both sides want a positive engagement.”
At the White House, US Deputy National Security Adviser Nadia Schadlow led the US team, which included Gen Joseph L. Votel, who heads the US Central Command and Lisa Curtis, Senior Director for South and Central Asia, at the National Security Council.
Pakistan-US bilateral relations are strained since 2015. President Trump’s tweet in the beginning of 2018 has further heralded the new rift in their bilateral relations that Pakistan supports terror outfits in the region. Moreover, US military aid suspension to Pakistan worth of $2 billion further tightened relations. Apart from this, US did not acknowledge Pakistan’s effort in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. In reality, many countries in the world such as China, Russia and to some extent the US, acknowledge Pakistan’s position as front line state in US-led war on terror.
In 2000’s, Pakistan was considered as a key state to resolve Afghan conflict by the US but now the latter encourages India ambitiously for economic development in Afghanistan. Eventually, India’s relations with Afghanistan are enhancing with the support of the US specifically in trade, education and in the development of infrastructure. It reflects that Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan is being undermined.
U.S. military will depend upon Pakistan to provide supply routes for US troops to Afghanistan, making Pakistan an important player to bring stability in Afghanistan.
However, the current unhealthy US-Pakistan relations originate from Trump’s Afghan Strategy 2016, in which Pakistan has been severely criticized for sponsoring terrorism in the region. Trump has announced his plans to deploy about 4,000 additional troops as complementary forces. However, the reality cannot be ignored that the U.S. military will depend upon Pakistan to provide supply routes for US troops to Afghanistan, making Pakistan an important player to bring stability in Afghanistan.
The exchanges of visits between both the countries may help to improve bilateral relations of Pakistan and the US but there is a dire need for a structured dialogue process. As Ms. Janjua stated, “We told them that this is a long-term relationship, which needs a structured dialogue process,”
Many analysts suggest that Pakistan can counter the US pressure through cutting NATO supply routes. Pakistan remained optimistic throughout the ups and downs between US and Pakistan and encourages cooperation with the US. In this complex interdependent international political environment, Pakistan’s economic and political situation, it (Pakistan) cannot afford this sort of strategy (cut off NATO Supply) rather it can do certain efforts to normalize relations with the US through regular exchanges of views on regional issues and concerns.
In contemporary regional politics of South Asia, Pakistan is enhancing its relations with Russia and China. Therefore, Pakistan does not need to worry about Indo-US efforts to pressurize or isolate Pakistan to play an active role in South Asia.
US pressure on Pakistan may be the continuation of the Obama Administration’s policy with a strong and single focus on Haqqani network. Pakistan’s inclusion in Financial Action Task Force’ grey list for sponsoring terrorism may contribute to further unhealthy Pak-US relations. Only the diplomatic efforts with the scholar approach can normalize their relations.
Read More: US urges Pakistan to ‘Do More’
US needs Pakistan for supply routes. Simultaneously Pakistan must continue its participation in all peace talks for the reconciliation process in Afghanistan by the US, Russia and China. Pakistan must also highlight India’s role in creating instability in Pakistan through the evil souls living in Afghanistan, at various international and regional forums.