Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD: The United States and Pakistan have resolved to increase dialogue on regional and global threats, improving cooperation, preventing and countering violent extremism, and combating terrorism financing, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.

In recent months, as threats from actors such as the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and the militant Islamic State-Khurasan (IS-K) groups have intensified, Washington has made several overtures of cooperation with Islamabad. The US has supported Pakistan’s right to defend itself from terrorism, which Islamabad claims is originating from Afghan soil.

The US has also been critical of Afghan Taliban’s failure to ensure that their territory would never be used as a launchpad for international terrorist attacks.

A statement, issued at the conclusion of a two-day counterterrorism dialogue, said the talks provided an opportunity for both sides to discuss the counterterrorism landscape in Pakistan and the broader region, with a focus on areas where the two can better collaborate to counter regional and global threats.

The policy-focused meeting was chaired by the Christopher Landberg, acting coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, and Syed Haider Shah, additional secretary for the UN and Economic Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Afghan delegation due in Islamabad to continue security talks, says Asif

The dialogue comes amid a spike in terrorism incidents in Pakistan, and Washington has repeatedly assured the country of help in dealing with the worsening law and order situation.

“These are among the very commitments that the Taliban have been unable or unwilling to fulfil to date,” Ned Price said about the Kabul regime at a briefing earlier this year.

Afghan delegation due Separately, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told a press conference on Tuesday that an Afghan delegation was expected in Pakistan soon to continue talks on various issues including, regional security and counter-terrorism measures, Dawn.com reported.

The statement comes more than a week after a high-level Pakistani delegation visited Kabul to meet with officials of the Afghan interim government to discuss a variety of issues from security to bilateral cooperation.

“Pakistan and Afghanistan are neighbours and should have cordial relations. The Islamic emirate of Afghanistan wants expansion of commercial and economic relations with Pakistan as such relations are in the interest of both countries,” the official statement from Afghanistan had said on Feb 22.

During his press talk in Islamabad today, Mr Asif emphasised that the Afghan territory must not be used by terrorists, especially in light of the agreement signed in Doha.

“We asked them to honour the accord and they agreed to our request,” the minister added.

Mr Asif said Pakistan fought hard to rein in terrorism and vowed the government would do so again. “We will fight as we did in the past,” he said.

March 8, 2023

Source: Dawn, Pakistan Today

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