WASHINGTON – Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has reached the United States on a three-day visit to hold bilateral talks amid tension that emerged after President Donald Trump’s accusations of supporting terrorists.
The foreign minister, who is suggesting the US since holding office that military option will not work in Afghanistan, was received by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Tuesday.
Asif is expected to hold meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today (Wednesday) to resolve the bilateral issues.
He would meet US National Security Adviser Lieutenant General HR McMaste in Washington where both high ups would shed light on Kashmir and Afghan issues, besides discussing the US policy on South Asia.
Asif will also address a gathering at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington on US-Pakistan relations on October 5.
A consensus regarding bilateral visits of Pakistani and American diplomats was surfaced during a meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
On Tuesday, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis while giving briefing regarding increasing troops level in Afghanistan at a House Armed Services Committee hearing said that the US wanted to work with Pakistan for “one more time” in order to settle Afghan conflict, adding that President Donald Trump would have options for necessary steps if efforts fail.
The bilateral ties between the countries have been deteriorated over the past decade.
“We need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them, by, with and through the Pakistanis, and if our best efforts fail, the president is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary,” Mattis said.
He warned that American withdrawal from Afghanistan would be “to our ultimate peril”.
Donald Trump’s August 21 speech in which he highlighted the policy shift for South-Asia and particularly Afghanistan was perceived in bad taste by Pakistani officials as the president had accused Islamabad of providing safe havens to militants.
Pakistan rubbished the claims and asked the world to do more as the country had suffered a lot at the hands of extremism.
Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has also returned from Kabul and is chairing special corps commander conference today (Tuesday) at the General Headquarters.