Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Letter to Imran Khan: Trump ‘acknowledges Afghan war cost both USA, Pakistan’

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan received a letter from US President Donald Trump seeking Islamabad’s “assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war”, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

“President Trump has also acknowledged that the war had cost both USA and Pakistan,” the statement added. “He has emphasised that Pakistan and USA should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership.”

The ministry “welcomed” the US decision for negotiations, noting that “Pakistan has always advocated a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan”.

“Pakistan reiterates its commitment to play a facilitation role in good faith,” the statement reads. “Peace and stability in Afghanistan remains a shared responsibility.”

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also confirmed Trump’s letter to Reuters, saying: “President Trump has written a letter. He has asked for Pakistan’s cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks.”

Trump’s letter was first talked about by the prime minister in a meeting with journalists earlier in the day.

In the letter, the PM said, Trump has asked Pakistan to play its role in the peace talks which seek to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

This is the first direct communication between the two leaders since Imran Khan assumed power in August.

Trump has been consistent in his criticism of Pakistan since he launched his South Asia and Afghanistan strategy despite multiple attempts made by the two governments to fix the problems in their ties.

Last month, a row that began with Trump’s interview to Fox News led to a series of tweets by both the US head of state and PM Khan.

President Trump, while talking about the reasons for ending the over a billion dollar annual aid for Pakistan at the beginning of the year, said the country didn’t do “a damn thing for us”.

Prime Minister Khan had led the sharp reaction by political leaders to Trump’s tirade against Pakistan by hinting at review of foreign policy options and asking the US president to introspect on the real reasons for America’s failure in Afghanistan.

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