ISLAMABAD: American Senator Christopher Hollen today said that Pakistan has played a crucial role to facilitate withdrawal of troops from war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Speaking exclusively to the PTV World, Hollen said there was a lot of uncertainty after the Biden announced earlier than scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. He said that chaos in Afghanistan was neither in Pakistan nor in the US interest.
Appreciating Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process, the US Senator Hollen said that Pakistan has already played an important part in bringing Taliban to the negotiating table and its role in the future will influence the Biden administration to engage with Pakistan.
He said the future of Pak-US relations would primarily rely on the role that Pakistan opts to play in Afghanistan. In May, a Pentagon official said that Pakistan had allowed the US military to use its airspace and given ground access to ensure its presence in Afghanistan, but Pakistan denied the claim. In a statement, the Foreign Office said that there is no US military or airbase in Pakistan nor is any such proposal envisaged.
Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs, David F. Helvey, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States would continue its talks with Pakistan because it has a key role to play in restoring peace in Afghanistan.
The FO maintained that Pakistan and the US have a framework of cooperation in terms of Air Lines of Communication (ALOC) and Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) in place since 2001. “No new agreement has been made in this regard,” he mentioned.
Violence has soared in recent weeks in Afghanistan as Afghan government forces and the Taliban clash in near-daily battles, with the insurgents pressing on with their campaign to capture more territory as peace talks to end the war remain deadlocked.