Beijing, Publish Date: Dec 4 2018
China on Tuesday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s move to seek Pakistan’s support for his efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to end the 17-year brutal war in Afghanistan.
Trump has written to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking Islamabad’s “assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war”.
Commenting on the development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “we welcome sound interaction between Pakistan and the US”.
“Sound and steady development of Pakistan-US relations is conducive to the realisation of the reconstruction of Afghanistan as well as anti-terrorism endeavours,” he said.
It is also conducive to regional peace and stability.
“We are pleased to see the improvement of their bilateral relations (and we) support their mutually beneficial cooperation and to step up communication on this issue,” Geng said.
In the letter, Trump “stated that his most important regional priority was achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war. In this regard, he has sought Pakistan’s support and facilitation.”
In Washington, a spokesperson of the US National Security Council told PTI that “the president recognises that Pakistan has the ability to deny the Taliban sanctuary on its territory…The letter also makes clear that Pakistan’s assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring US-Pakistan partnership.”
Since taking office, Trump has been very critical of Pakistan’s lax attitude towards combatting terrorism.
Last month, Trump said Pakistan does not do “a damn thing” for the US, alleging that Islamabad had helped al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden hide near its garrison city of Abbottabad.
Ties between the US and Pakistan strained after Trump, while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August last year, hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harbouring terrorists.
In September, the Trump administration cancelled USD 300 million in military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups like the Haqqani Network and the Taliban active on its soil.
The Trump administration, in the recent months, has intensified its efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of America’s longest war in Afghanistan where the US has lost over 2,400 soldiers since late 2001, when it invaded the country after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The Taliban are fighting to flush out US-led international forces and re-establish their regime in Afghanistan after their ouster in 2001. ( PTI )