Pakistan ‘surprised’ by Blinken’s remarks on reassessing ties

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Pakistan has had deep ties with the Taliban and other outfits in the region. Moreover, the country has been accused of supporting the group during the US’s war on terror…reports Asian Lite News.

Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday expressed “surprise” over US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks on reassessing bilateral ties with Islamabad, saying it was “not in line with the close cooperation” between the two nations.

This comes after State Secretary told Congress that the US will be looking at ties with Pakistan in the coming weeks to formulate the role America wants Islamabad to play in the future of Afghanistan.

During a weekly presser, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad on Thursday termed Blinken’s statement a “surprise”, Dawn newspaper reported.

The spokesperson also highlighted that Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process, facilitation of the multinational evacuation effort from Afghanistan.

Pakistan has had deep ties with the Taliban and other outfits in the region. Moreover, the country has been accused of supporting the group during the US’s war on terror.

During his first testimony in US Congress after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, Blinken on Monday noted that Pakistan has “harboured” members of the Taliban including the terrorists from the proscribed Haqqani network.

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Asked by lawmakers if it is time for Washington to reassess its relationship with Pakistan, Blinken said: “We are going to be looking at in the days and weeks ahead, the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years, but also the role that we would want to see it playing in the coming years.”

Blinken made the remarks during his first testimony before Congress since the Taliban took control of Kabul. The top US diplomat laid out the Biden administration’s posture toward the Taliban in remarks to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

At least two Congressmen, both Democrats, Bill Keating and Joaquin Castro focused on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan terming it “duplicitous.” They also mentioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public statements after the Taliban took over Kabul last month, reported The News International.

Keating asked Blinken: “How do we reassess that relationship how we, how we learn from their actions? And when we go forward. What do we do, what are some of the big issues that we should have stakes in the ground that we should have in dealing with Pakistan and the way they’ve acted over these decades?”

Blinken told the lawmakers that the United States will reassess its relationship with Pakistan given its role in Afghanistan over the last twenty years and beyond.

“This is one of the things we are going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead — the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” Blinken told lawmakers on Monday during a congressional hearing on post-Afghan withdrawal from Kabul.

Responding to questions, Blinken said Pakistan needs to line up with the international community to force the Taliban regime to uphold the basic rights of Afghan people, women, and minorities, reported The News International.

“What we have to look at is an insistence that every country, to include Pakistan, make good on the expectations that the international community has of what is required of a Taliban-led government if it’s to receive any legitimacy of any kind or any support,” he told the committee. (ANI)

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