Pakistan Urges US to Leave Afghanistan 'As Friend of the Region'

Pakistan Urges US to Leave Afghanistan 'As Friend of the Region'

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail Saturday praised Prime Minister Imran Khan for his response to US President Donald Trump's statement about Pakistan.

The PML-N leader said to resolve the Afghanistan issue, Pakistan and America will have to work together.

Khan said he wanted a relationship with the United States like the one with China - "not one-dimensional" and a "trade relationship".

However, the Western-backed government's security forces have struggled to counter attacks from the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat troops.

Speaking to The Washington Post, he said:"I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun - given money to fight someone else's war".

"It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity", he said.

"Pakistan has not much influence over Afghan Taliban, however still we will cooperate with the USA and facilitate the negotiations to make the peace process successful", Ghafoor said while addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday. Putting pressure on the Taliban is easier said than done. "That is how as much as we can we will facilitate", the spokesman explained when asked what Pakistan could do to nudge the insurgents to engage in peace negotiations.

In an interview with TOLOnews, the U.S. ambassador said the USA is not negotiating on behalf of the Afghan government as he pointed at the efforts by the United States on Afghan peace.

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"We also want something done about the bombers of Mumbai". He also rejected the interviewer's suggestion that he is "anti-American" because of his positions, and denied that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has categorically ruled out the possibility of resumption of bilateral talks with Pakistan unless it stops cross-border terror activities against India.

The Trump administration has suspended hundreds of millions in funding for Pakistan over Islamabad's refusal to take decisive action against terrorist groups orchestrating attacks against USA troops in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned that the withdrawal of USA troops from Afghanistan may help terrorist groups develop the capability to carry out more attacks like the ones launched against the United States on September 11, 2001. Pakistan was left with militant groups and four million Afghan refugees.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan army spokesperson Asif Ghafoor claimed that the initiative had been "negatively presented in India".

"There were a lot of people in Pakistan who opposed it, including me".

The premier said that the country had received monetary help from Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates, but said the latter two countries wanted the figures to remain "confidential".

In the letter, Trump said a settlement is "his most important regional priority", the Pakistani foreign ministry stated.

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