Senior U.S. Diplomats In Islambad For Talks

A high-level U.S. diplomatic delegation is visiting Pakistan for the first time since President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan in August.

Alice Wells, the acting assistant secretary for South and Central Asia and acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Lisa Curtis, a senior director for South and Central Asia at the National Security Council, met with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua on October 12, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson told Radio Mashaal.

The U.S. delegation, which also included David Helvey, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, was to meet with Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif.

Wells and Curtis would discuss Pakistan’s role in finding a solution to the 16-year Afghan war, the embassy spokesperson said.

When Trump announced his new approach to the war in Afghanistan on August 21, he said additional pressure would be put on neighboring Pakistan to crack down on safe havens for extremists within its borders, although he did not mention specific actions that might be taken.

News agencies have reported that measures being discussed include potentially downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.

In an apparent response to Trump’s remarks, Pakistan asked the United States to postpone a visit by Wells that had been due to begin on August 28.

Pakistan did not say the postponement was linked to Trump’s allegations, but Islamabad has heavily criticized the comments.

“At the request of the government of Pakistan, Acting Assistant Secretary Wells’ trip has been postponed until a mutually convenient time,” the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said.

Asif visited the United States earlier this month and held talks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on October 4.

Tillerson and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will visit Pakistan in the coming weeks, media reports say.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

   

Related Posts