International community needs to engage with Taliban govt, Pakistan tells US

ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf Friday met Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R Sherman and told her that the international community should engage with the interim Taliban-led government in Afghanistan. 

NSA Moeed Yusuf held a meeting with the State Department’s number two, who arrived Thursday in Pakistan on a two-day official visit. After the visit of the CIA Director William J Burns, Sherman is the senior-most US official to visit Pakistan.

During the meeting, bilateral issues and the evolving situation in the region after the Taliban takeover, were discussed. The two also exchanged views on economic cooperation, trade and the security situation in Afghanistan.

“The international community needs to engage with Afghanistan’s new interim government,” Moeed Yousaf said.

Yusuf told Sherman that Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir were leading the region towards further instability. 

Earlier on Thursday, during a weekly press briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar had said that the United States has a very special responsibility towards addressing the grave and continuing human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK), and the issue will be raised with Wendy R. Sherman during talks at the Foreign Office.

“Violations of human rights in IIOJ&K is an ongoing situation. We are taking it up at all levels — through bilateral and multilateral channels, including particularly with the UN leadership. I am certain this issue is going to be raised during the visit of the Deputy Secretary of State. We think that important countries like the US have a very special responsibility – as the permanent member of the UNSC and as advocates of human rights globally – in addressing the grave concerns regarding the human rights situation in IIOJK”, the FO spokesman had said.

Besides Afghanistan which has always been the focus of the US in talks with Pakistan, and the main reason that saw Burns here, the spokesperson had said it was time also to look at other shared interests in the bilateral relationship.

“I think it is very clear and we have been saying it for quite some time that we desire a relationship that takes into account the interests of both countries, and we do have many shared interests with the US.

“There is a desire on Pakistan’s part, and I believe on the part of the US as well, to make this relationship broad-based and forward-looking, moving away from looking at it mostly from the perspective of Afghanistan. As I said before, close engagement between Pakistan and the US has always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in the region,” he added. 

When the recent reports of the US Congressional hearing were raised at the briefing, the spokesperson had said that these are a matter of concern.

“Let me reiterate that the US Congressional hearings represent a continuation of the debate underway in Washington to reflect on and draw lessons from the US intervention in Afghanistan.

“While the views being expressed by lawmakers and experts during these hearings do not necessarily reflect the United States’ official position, they are a matter of concern, and are nonetheless inconsistent with the reality of the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and the United States on Afghanistan”, he had said.