WASHINGTON: The United States urged Pakistan on Tuesday to reconsider its decision to boycott a conference on Afghanistan in Germany next week, saying it plays a key role in the future of its war-torn central Asian neighbour.
Pakistan decided earlier Tuesday to boycott the December 5 Bonn conference as it widened its protest over lethal cross-border Nato strikes on Saturday that have exacerbated a deep crisis in US ties.
“It’s important to note that this conference is about Afghanistan, about its future, about building a safer, more prosperous Afghanistan within the region,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
“It’s very much in Pakistan’s interest to attend this conference,” Toner said.
Toner, who declined to be drawn on whether the United States regretted the decision in Islamabad, said Pakistan had not informed Washington directly of its decision because Germany is the host of the conference.
But he repeated that “it’s in their interests, so we think it’s important that they be there.”
He added: “Pakistan has a crucial role to play in supporting a secure and stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
“It’s absolutely critical that Afghanistan’s neighbors play a role in its future development,” Toner said. “Its relationship with Pakistan has been critical in that regard.”