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Pakistan has played important role in supporting Afghan peace process: Pentagon officia

US will continue conversation with Pakistan because of its support and contribution to the future of Afghanistan, says Pentagon official.
Pakistan seeking “broad-based, strategic partnership” with America, which would also cover Afghanistan, says FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Last month, US President Joe Biden announced to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11 this year.

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has played an important role in supporting the peace process in Afghanistan, according to a top Pentagon official. 

Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs David F Helvey made this statement while addressing lawmakers of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the US on Saturday.

He was responding to a question from Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, about his “assessment of Pakistan” and its intelligence agencies and the role expected by both in the future.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, left, arrives in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Mattis will meet with top leaders and seek common ground on the counterterrorism fight, amid Trump administration calls for Islamabad to more aggressively go after the insurgents moving back and forth across the border with Afghanistan. (U.S. Embassy, via AP)

“Pakistan has played an important role in Afghanistan. They supported the Afghan peace process. Pakistan also has allowed us to have overflight and access to be able to support our military presence in Afghanistan,” Helvey said.

He said the US will continue its conversation with Pakistan because of its support and contribution to the future of Afghanistan.

Pakistan has always allowed overflights and ground access to the US to facilitate its military presence in Afghanistan and will continue to do so, diplomatic sources were quoted as saying by TTI News.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told lawmakers in New York that Pakistan was seeking a broad-based, strategic partnership with America, which would also cover Afghanistan.

He had emphasised on the need for “a broad-based strategic partnership” in the interest of both countries.

Last month, US President Joe Biden announced to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11 this year.

The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.

Under the US-Taliban pact signed in Doha, the US agreed to withdraw all its soldiers from Afghanistan in 14 months.

There are currently 2,500 American troops left in Afghanistan, the lowest level of American forces in the war-torn country since 2001.

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