Pakistan’s role crucial for lasting political settlement in Afghanistan: US

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KABUL, (DNA) – The United States has vowed to continue closely working with Pakistan for establishing a durable peace in war-torn Afghanistan.The top US general, Joseph L. Votel, who is overseeing the forces in the region stated this during a news briefing on Thursday.“This is a South Asia strategy, and cooperation from Pakistan remains key to accomplishing the overall objective of a durable political settlement in Afghanistan,” Votel said.

“We continue to work closely with Pakistan to help them fulfill the important role that they have indicated they want to play. Now is the time for them to step forward.”

The army general said that he had seen positive signs from Islamabad, adding that Pakistan needs to put more pressure on Taliban pushing them to the dialogues. He reiterated President Donald Trump’s stance of ramping up pressure on the country for targetting the militants on its soil.

“We also need to see them continue to make efforts to compel the Taliban to come to the table and take advantage of these opportunities,” the general said.

The statement comes amid growing speculation about efforts to start talks with the Taliban following an unprecedented ceasefire in Afghanistan during Eid holidays in June.

However, the Taliban have rejected holding any dialogue with President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which they call an illegitimate. The militants also insisted that they would only talk with the US.

The US commander said, “While the fighting continues and work remains to be done in Afghanistan, progress there shows the president’s South Asia Strategy is working”.