Separately, U.S. secretary of state says Washington believes Pakistan has a vital role to play in using its influence with the Taliban to discourage use of force
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf met his U.S. counterpart in Washington on Thursday as part of an official visit during which he is expected to engage with senior lawmakers and think-tanks to exchange views on the regional security situation.
“Had a positive follow-up meeting with NSA Jake Sullivan today in Washington,” he wrote on Twitter. “Took stock of progress made since our Geneva meeting [in May] and discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. Agreed to sustain the momentum in Pak-U.S. bilateral cooperation,” he added.
Similarly, Sullivan also provided an update on the meeting in a posting on Twitter, saying areas of “mutual cooperation” had come under discussion. “I met with Pakistan’s NSA today to consult on regional connectivity and security, and other areas of mutual cooperation,” he said. “We discussed the urgent need for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan and a negotiated political settlement to the conflict,” he added.
There is growing unease globally over recent gains by the Taliban in Afghanistan, where they are now believed to control more than 60 percent of the country’s territory. According to reports, the Taliban have already started imposing taxes on citizens living in areas under their control, and have also announced harsh new laws limiting the rights of women.
Yusuf is accompanied by Inter-Services Intelligence Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken—who just conclude a two-day official visit to India—told members of the Indian media that Pakistan continues to have a “vital role” in influencing the Taliban and the U.S. hopes that Islamabad fulfills this. “Pakistan has a vital role to play in using its influence with the Taliban to do whatever it can to make sure that the Taliban does not seek to take the country by force,” he told the Times of India channel. “And it does have influence, and it does have a role to play, and we hope that it plays it,” he added.
In transcripts released by the State Department, Blinken also told ABC News that the entire world was hearing “deeply, deeply troubling” reports of human rights atrocities in Afghanistan, even as the U.S. continues to withdraw its troops from the country. Such reports, he stressed, “certainly do not speak well of the Taliban’s intentions for the country as a whole.” He also told Al Jazeera that if Afghanistan reverted to a state similar to that prior to 2001, it risked becoming a “pariah in the international community.”