WASHINGTON: US Vice President Mike Pence told Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that Pakistan “must do more” against the Taliban and other militants, the White House said on Saturday.
“Vice President Pence reiterated President (Donald) Trump’s request that the Government of Pakistan must do more to address the continued presence of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups operating in their country,” the White House said in a statement on the Friday call.
“Pakistan could and should work closer with the United States,” Pence said.
According to Washington, there is little sign that Islamabad has made a decision to end its support for the Taliban, which the country’s powerful security services see as safeguarding its interests and as a bulwark against Indian influence in Kabul.
Last month, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani proposed peace talks with the Taliban, which could eventually be recognized as a political party if it observes a ceasefire and officially recognizes the Afghan government and constitution.
The Taliban have stopped short of rejecting the proposal, but their response has been muted.
Earlier in the day, Abbasi met with Pence at the latter’s residence during a private visit to the country, apprising him of Pakistan’s sacrifices and successes in the fight against terrorism.
The meeting detailed talks on Afghan peace process, sources said, adding that Abbasi termed the meeting positive considering US President Donald Trump’s tough stance against Islamabad.
The premier also met high-ups in the US government during his day-long visit to Washington. According to the sources, Abbasi met US officials at a local hotel where diplomats from the Pakistani embassy were also present.
The US-Pak relations witnessed a downtrend after US President Donald Trump’s New Year tweet, wherein he had claimed that Washington had “foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years”.-Web Desk