During a phone call between US defence secretary Lloyd Austin and Pakistan army chief general Qamar Javed Bajwa, the US sent a strong message to Pakistan’s leadership asking them to take steps for eliminating Taliban terrorists’ safe havens along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The US feels that these safe havens are causing insecurity and instability in the conflict-ridden nation. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that Austin and Bajwa also discussed regional security issues and the bilateral defence ties along with the current situation in Afghanistan. Austin said that the US is interested in improving the US-Pakistan relationship.
“Secretary Austin and General Bajwa discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, regional security and stability, and the bilateral defence relationship more broadly,” Kirby was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. He said the US does not feel ‘bashful’ to discuss the safe havens along the border with Pakistan’s leadership.
“We are also mindful that Pakistan and the Pakistani people also fall victim to terrorist activities that emanate from that region. So, we all have a shared sense of the importance of closing down those safe havens and not allowing them to be used by the Taliban or other terrorist networks to sow discord,” Kirby further added. He said that the US continues to continually raise issues related to the safe havens with the Pakistan leadership.
Afghanistan continues to allege that Islamabad is aiding Taliban terrorists and is also sending thousands of terrorists to the country to destabilise the government. Pakistan continues to deny any such role while highlighting that it is due to Islamabad’s efforts Taliban has sat down with the US and Afghanistan to talk peace and stability.
The US, however, has not made any changes to its troop withdrawal plans which has provided a fillip to the Taliban which is advancing at a fast pace and has captured several major cities and provinces in the conflict-ridden nation. Despite being on the peace committee, where the US and the Afghanistan government are stakeholders, the terrorist group has used violence to stamp its authority and take control of vast regions of Afghanistan. The US and Nato will withdraw all their troops by August 31.