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USA wholeheartedly support Afghan offer of peace talks with Taliban

03 March, 2018

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WASHINGTON: The United States has assured Pakistan that it does not want to sever bilateral ties with this important ally while Islamabad extended its “wholehearted support” to the US-backed Afghan offer of peace talks with the Taliban.

The two statements supplement renewed efforts to improve relations between the US and Pakistan which were once close allies in the war against terror.

The move for improving ties began last week when Washington sent a senior Trump aide to Islamabad for talks with Pakistani leaders. And on Thursday, official sources in Washington told Dawn that Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua will visit Washington next week for a series of meetings with senior American officials.

In an interview to VOA radio in Kabul on Friday, US State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells said the US was not thinking of cutting ties with Pakistan. She also assured Islamabad that the US considered Pakistan essential to resolving the Afghan imbroglio.

Asked if Washington could sever its relations with Pakistan, Ms Well said: “On the contrary, we are backing Pakistan against all militant groups.”

In Islamabad, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters that Pakistan “wholeheartedly supports Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s latest offer of peace talks to the Taliban because “it’s a good move and a healthy move towards restoring peace in Afghanistan”.

Earlier, a top US general also dispelled the impression that the United States and Pakistan were on a collision course. “We have preserved the valuable military-to-military relationship with Pakistan” while working to increase transparency and communication with military leaders, Gen Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command told a congressional panel in Washington this week.

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