‘Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan’, COAS tells US diplomat

US envoy thanked Gen Qamar for special assistance in the evacuation operations from Kabul, says ISPR


News Desk August 27, 2021
PHOTO: ISPR/FILE

While saying Pakistan's sole aim is helping achieve peaceful, sovereign, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that Pakistan has no "favourites" in Afghanistan, the military said.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief expressed these remarks during a meeting with US Charge d’ Affairs to Pakistan Angela Aggeler who called on him at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Friday.

The military's media wing said that during the meeting matters of mutual interest, regional security and the recent situation in Afghanistan were discussed in detail.

"Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan and our sole aim is helping achieve peaceful, sovereign stable and prosperous Afghanistan," the COAS was quoted as saying by the ISPR.

Gen Qamar also strongly condemned the terrorist attacks at the Kabul airport and expressed sorrow over the loss of precious lives, it added.

Read: Russia says it will study Taliban's actions before deciding on recognition

The statement said that the army chief also reiterated the combined resolve to fight terrorism and extremism to the core.

The visiting dignitary, according to the ISPR, appreciated Pakistan's efforts in promoting regional peace and stability and thanked the COAS for the special assistance in the evacuation operations from Kabul.

The meeting comes a day after 85 people, including 13 US soldiers, were killed by an Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber as American forces help to evacuate Afghans desperate to flee the Taliban rule.

Also read: At least 85 killed in Kabul airport carnage

General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said US commanders are on alert for more attacks by Islamic State, including possible rockets or vehicle-borne bombs targeting the airport.

"We're doing everything we can to be prepared," he said, adding that some intelligence is being shared with the Taliban and that he believed "some attacks have been thwarted by them."

US forces are racing to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by an August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden, who says the United States had long ago achieved its original rationale for invading the country in 2001: to root out al Qaeda militants and prevent a repeat of the Sept 11 attacks on the United States.

Biden said he had ordered the Pentagon to plan how to strike ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate that claimed responsibility.

"We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," the US president said during televised comments from the White House.

On Thursday, chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Richard Moore called on General Qamar and discussed matters of mutual interests particularly evolving situation in Afghanistan, the military said in a statement.

Read more: Former Afghan spies arrested after Kabul airport attack: Taliban

During the meeting, the army chief said that Pakistan is helping achieve a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

“Pakistan is willing to do whatever is possible to help Afghanistan achieve an inclusive settlement which is vital for regional peace and prosperity,” the statement quoted Gen Qamar as saying.

Last week, while addressing the faculty and cadets during a visit to the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) in Kakul, Gen Qamar reiterated that Pakistan wanted national and regional peace and development, and would continue to play its role for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

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