ISLAMABAD: With the US expected to draw down troops in Afghanistan in 2014, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the American ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson that Pakistan’s interests in regional security in the post-2014 scenario must be respected.
In a statement released from Nisar’s office on Monday, the minister and the American ambassador discussed issues pertaining to bilateral relations with particular reference to the security situation in the region and review of the recently concluded strategic dialogue.
Nisar said Pakistan wants to further strengthen its relations with the US, based on mutual trust and transparency.
He reminded Olson that Pakistan has an important role to play in the post-2014 scenario and hoped that the US will respect its interests in regional security.
Olson expressed his satisfaction over the recently concluded fourth round of ministerial strategic dialogue which recently took place in Washington. He added that a very positive interaction took place between the two delegations with understanding of each other’s positions.
US not to ‘abandon’ Pakistan post-2014
Earlier in the day, Olson said that the US intends to remain engaged with Pakistan and Afghanistan after the 2014 draw down of troops.
“Our plan is to continue to engage with Pakistan and Afghanistan. If we are invited by the Afghans to have some residual force, it will require the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement,” Olson told Radio Pakistan in an interview.
“We favour the government of Pakistan efforts to establish its writ through its territories and in areas where there are non-state actors that are acting against our common interests.”
When asked to comment on the future situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US and ISAF forces, he said it was hard to predict, however the Afghan National Army was now well trained to handle any situation.
The envoy said Pakistan and US were on the same page on resolving Afghan issue.
“We have been a good partner of Pakistan in the energy sectorand we have had projects in past four to five years that added 1000 MWto the national grid; both in hydel and thermal sectors.”
He said his government was also helping Pakistan in a number of sectors, particularly in resolving the energy crisis.