RAWALPINDI: US Charge d’ Affairs to Pakistan Angela Ageler on Thursday appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in the Afghan peace process during her meeting with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The Inter-Services Public Relations, in a statement, said during the meeting, matters of mutual interest and overall regional security situation including recent developments in the Afghan peace process were discussed.
The army chief welcomed US President Joe Biden’s announcement to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, the ISPR said.
Gen Bajwa reiterating that a prosperous, stable, and peaceful Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan in particular and the region in general, hoped for greater Pak-US bilateral cooperation in all domains in the future.
“[The] visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s sincere efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region, especially the Afghan peace process, and also assured of US continued assistance for the common cause of peace in Afghanistan,” ISPR added.
Troops’ withdrawal must coincide with progress in peace process
Earlier in the day, the Foreign Office had said it is important the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan coincides with progress in the peace process after US President Joe Biden announced it’s “time to end” America’s longest war with the unconditional pulling out of troops.
The Foreign Office, in a statement, said Pakistan had been consistently supporting and facilitating the efforts for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“We believe there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a negotiated political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is important for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” it said.
A day earlier, in a nationally televised address, Biden had said the US would “hold the Taliban accountable” on promises to keep international extremists from setting up base in Afghanistan.
“We will ask other countries in the region to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India, and Turkey,” he added.
Dubbed the “forever war,” the US military onslaught in Afghanistan began in response to September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.
Now, 20 years later — after almost 2,400 US military and tens of thousands of Afghan deaths — Biden named September 11 as the deadline by which the last US soldiers will have finally departed.
Biden said the US had “accomplished” its limited original mission of crushing the international militant groups behind the 9/11 attacks and that with every passing year the rationale for staying was “increasingly unclear”.
Biden insisted there would be no “hasty exit,” but he was adamant about his decision. “A horrific attack 20 years ago […] cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021,” he said. “It’s time to end the forever war.”