US Vice President Pence says Pakistan 'must do more' against Taliban

By AFP
Published: March 18, 2018
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US Vice President Mike Pence. PHOTO: AFP

US Vice President Mike Pence. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON DC: US Vice President Mike Pence told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that his country “must do more” against the Taliban and other militants, the White House said on Saturday.

“Vice President Pence reiterated President (Donald) Trump’s request that the Government of Pakistan must do more to address the continued presence of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups operating in the country,” the White House said in a statement on the Friday call.

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“Pakistan could and should work closer with the United States,” Pence said.

According to Washington, there is little sign that Islamabad has made a decision to end its support for the Taliban, which the country’s powerful security services see as allegedly safeguarding its interests and as a bulwark against Indian influence in Kabul.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month proposed peace talks with the Taliban, which could eventually be recognised as a political party if it observes a ceasefire and officially recognises the Afghan government and constitution.

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The Taliban has stopped short of rejecting the proposal, but its response has been muted.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday met Congressman Ted Yoho.

The prime minister is in the United States on a private visit. In a tweet, the Pakistani embassy in Washington shared that House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia & Pacific Chairman Yoho and Ranking Member Brad Sherman had called on Abbasi.

Separately, Sherman also tweeted about having had a “good discussion” with the prime minister on US-Pakistan relations.

President Mamnoon Hussain had also said on Friday that terrorism had adversely affected Pakistan and cooperating with the US was imperative to curb terror.

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