US Official Calls for Pakistani Action Against Militants
October 04, 2021
In advance of a visit to Islamabad, a top US official urged Pakistan to take action against all extremist groups. Islamabad has sought reconciliation with militants both at home and in Afghanistan.During her visit to Pakistan on October 7 and 8, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will meet with Pakistani officials.We seek a strong counterterrorism partnership with Pakistan, and we expect sustained action against all militant and terrorist groups without distinction,” Sherman told reporters.
“Both of our countries have suffered greatly as a result of the scourge of terrorism, and we look forward to working together to eliminate all regional and global terrorist threats,” she said from Switzerland, her first stop on a trip that will also take her to India and Uzbekistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, a longtime critic of US military campaigns, said in an interview aired on Friday that the government had begun talks with some groups of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) about disarming.Some of the Pakistani Taliban groups actually want to talk to our government for some peace, for some reconciliation,” he told TRT World in Turkey.He stated that talks were taking place in Afghanistan with members of the TTP, which has been carrying out deadly attacks for years.
Prime Minister Imran has urged the international community to engage Afghanistan’s Taliban and provide economic support, but he has refrained from endorsing recognition, which the US opposes.Sherman applauded Pakistan’s calls for an inclusive Afghan government.We expect Pakistan to play an important role in facilitating that outcome,” she said.Pakistan was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban’s hardline 1996-2001 regime, but it quickly supported the US-led war to depose them following the September 11, 2001, attacks.
As the Secretary of State, who is equivalent to a foreign minister in other countries, is always a political appointee, Secretary Sherman is the highest-ranking career diplomat in the State Department. She is the highest-ranking US official to visit Pakistan since President Joe Biden’s victory in Kabul.Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met his US counterpart Antony Blinken in New York last week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s 76th session. Their discussions centered on the current situation in Afghanistan, where the pro-US Ghani government was deposed by the Taliban in mid-August. The takeover came after the United States withdrew its troops from the war-torn country.
The US now wants Pakistan to persuade the Taliban to include other factions in government, to respect human rights, and to allow women and girls to attend school.Pakistan has assured the international community that it, too, desires an inclusive government in Kabul and will continue to press the Taliban to keep their promises to the international community.
However, Islamabad has also warned the international community that it has limited influence over the Taliban and cannot compel them to do anything.
Qureshi also brought up the Kashmir issue during his meeting with Secretary Blinken, telling him that there would be no peace in South Asia until this decades-old dispute was resolved.