In meeting with Pakistan Army chief, acting U.S. charge d’affaires appreciates Islamabad’s contributions to Afghan peace process
The newly elected U.S. administration of President Joe Biden on Friday assured Pakistan of its continued support for the mutual desire to end to the conflict in war-torn Afghanistan.
This was expressed during a meeting between Acting U.S. Charge d’Affaires to Pakistan Angela Aggeler and Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa in Islamabad, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The military’s media wing said Gen. Bajwa had informed Aggeler that he hoped bilateral ties between their nations would continue to strengthen under the new U.S. administration. “Matters of mutual interest, including regional security situation, were discussed during the meeting,” it added.
According to ISPR, Aggeler assured the Army chief of America’s continued assistance in achieving peace in Afghanistan. She also appreciated Pakistan’s contributions in preventing conflict in the South Asian region, as well as its ongoing support for the Afghan peace process.
U.S. media, citing sources, has claimed that the Biden administration plans to retain Zalmay Khalilzad as its envoy for the ongoing Afghanistan peace talks. Anthony Blinken, Biden’s pick for secretary of State, told the Senate during his confirmation hearing that the incumbent U.S. president was committed to ending the war in Afghanistan. However, he added, the administration would “look carefully” at what had been negotiated by the Trump administration. Analysts have warned that any decision that runs contrary to the U.S.-Taliban agreement, including the exit of all foreign troops from Afghanistan by May, could risk upending the entire process.
Separately, former U.S. General Lloyd J. Austin, during his confirmation hearing for the post of secretary of Defense, said the U.S. would continue to develop its relationship with Pakistan’s military. He stressed that Pakistan was an essential partner in the ongoing Afghan peace process, adding that he wished to focus on shared interests such as training for the Pakistani military and the eradication of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group from the region.