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U.S. No Longer Sees Itself Building ‘Broad-Based’ Relationship with Pakistan: Sherman

by Newsweek Pakistan

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of State

During trip to India, deputy secretary of state emphasizes that ties between Washington and Islamabad serve ‘specific and narrow’ purpose

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Thursday said Washington no longer sees itself building a “broad-based relationship” with Pakistan, in a marked contradiction to Islamabad’s stated desire to expand its ties with the U.S. beyond an Afghanistan-centric view.

“We [U.S.] don’t see ourselves building our broad relationship with Pakistan and we have no interest in returning to the days of a hyphenated India, Pakistan,” she said at an event in Mumbai on the second of two-day official visit to India ahead of her visit to Islamabad. “That’s not where we are, that’s not where we are going to be,” she said, adding that her trip to the Pakistani capital was aimed at accomplishing a “specific and narrow purpose.”

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson had claimed that Islamabad wanted a relationship with Washington that was “broad-based and forward looking, moving away from looking at it mostly from the perspective of Afghanistan.” During her India visit, Sherman emphasized that Afghanistan was her key concern.

“We all need to know what’s going on in Afghanistan. We all need to be of one mind in the approach to the Taliban. We all need to make sure that we have the capabilities that we need to ensure everybody’s security, including India’s, of course. So I am going to have some very specific conversations, continuing conversations that Secretary [Antony] Blinken has had [with Pakistan],” she said, adding that she would share information from her trip to Islamabad with Delhi.

Sherman in Pakistan

Upon arriving in Pakistan on Thursday night, Sherman met National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf, and discussed bilateral issues as well as the evolving situation in the region following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. During their meeting, Yusuf reiterated that the international community must remain engaged with the Taliban. Sherman, according to a statement, appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to evacuate foreigners from Kabul.

“I met yesterday evening with Pakistani National Security Adviser Mooed Yusuf to discuss Afghanistan and areas of cooperation in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” she said in a posting on Twitter on Friday morning. According to a report published by state-run Radio Pakistan, Yusuf updated Sherman on human rights violations by Indian forces in India-held Kashmir.

Currently on a two-day official tour of Pakistan, Sherman would meet Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today (Friday), and would also reportedly meet Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

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