National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf has said that Pakistan and the United States needed to work “more closely” amid evolving situation in Afghanistan as security vacuum widened by the withdrawal of international forces in the war-torn country.
“No other nation can work on shared threats in the region other than Pakistan and the US, like instability in Afghanistan. However, Afghan soil was and still is being used against Pakistan which is a serious concern and needs to be stopped,” the NSA added.
Dr Moeed said this while addressing a press conference late Saturday at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC during his official visit to the country.
While enunciating the security threats, he said Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) based in Afghanistan was a threat to Pakistan and there were also groups targeting other regions in the world which was against the US interests.
Both the countries could jointly work in this domain, he added.
“There has been a positive response on the collaboration between US and Pakistan. Political reconciliation in Afghan issue is the major step that could be taken and would help reduce pressure,” the NSA said.
He said “peace in Afghanistan is not our weakness rather strength” as Pakistan would suffer the most if violence in the war-torn country spiraled out of control.
The NSA said the purpose of his visit was to have a follow-up of his engagement with his US counterpart Jake Sullivan on May 23 in Geneva.
Dr Moeed while elaborating the agenda of his official visit said Afghanistan was the most immediate and important matter of discussion but it was agreed that Pakistan and US would work together in multiple domains including climate change, health and Covid-19, commerce and investment.
He added that during the Geneva meeting, it was decided that by July-end the NSAs of the two countries would take stock of the progress as teams were working on both sides since then.
Moeed said during his meeting with the US NSA it was agreed that collaboration between the two countries was important to tackle the regional challenges. “We got a positive response for moving forward,” he added.
He told media that only issues concerning Pakistani interest were discussed during the official engagements with the US officials.
“We decided that we would work on substance rather than optics at this point because in this relationship there was expectation-reality disconnect and we recently publicly thanked US for vaccine doses it donated which underscored our commitment towards the bilateral ties,” he added.
At the same presser, Dr Moeed said Pakistan was not in the position to bear anymore burden of refugees but at the same time it was neither in favour of letting Afghans displaced from their territories.
“Pakistan is doing whatever it can and will do further but Afghan forces have to decide their future whereas the US leadership can facilitate and it should take political leadership onboard,” Dr Moeed said.
Pakistan has no choice to consider half-hearted perceptions of failure in reviving peace in Afghanistan whereas it was more critical to say that what economic plan does the world had for Afghanistan, he noted.
“Pakistan and US can work in this field as CPEC can be extended to Afghanistan and manufacturing plants could be set up near border to use afghan raw material for export-goods that will ultimately benefit Afghans,” he suggested.
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He added that without peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan could not provide Central Asian countries its ports that are core of its geo-economic vision.
“We want to remain partners with US on mutual interests as both sides agree to continue working together,” he said.
Indian terror activities
Responding various media queries, the NSA said foreign soil was being used against Pakistan and eastern neighbour (India) was involved into it whereas a dossier was presented to the world that left no doubts against Indian clandestine designs and terror financing against Pakistan.
“The world including US is saying we are together in fight against terrorism but the incidents of terrorism have increased unfortunately,” he said.
Pakistan, he said had a two-fold stance, no undesirable movement across the international border where it completed 97% fencing in the toughest terrain with new forces, fortresses and mechanism in place as no unwanted movement to be allowed across the border.
“Anything to be decided by Afghanistan is their decision and any movement or event there has nothing to do with us,” he clarified.
“Dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees is a must and Pakistan has given the most hospitable refuge to the migrants in the world. They have the right to return, overwhelming majority of Afghan refugees is law abiding whereas certain elements take benefit of that to propagate against us,” he explained.
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