Pakistan seeks more engagement with US over situation in Afghanistan  

Pakistan seeks more engagement with US over situation in Afghanistan  
The Afghan economy has plunged into economic crisis following the Taliban takeover. (AP)
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Updated 24 November 2021

Pakistan seeks more engagement with US over situation in Afghanistan  

Pakistan seeks more engagement with US over situation in Afghanistan  
  • US Congress delegation is in Islamabad for talks on bilateral and regional ties

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is seeking more engagement with the US over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, officials and experts have said, as a US Congress delegation is in Islamabad for talks on bilateral and regional ties.
Pakistan-US relations have been strained in recent months after Afghanistan’s Western-backed administration collapsed in mid-August as US-led forces withdrew and the Taliban took control. In September, Republican senators pressed for legislation that would sanction Pakistan for providing a safe haven for the Taliban, an accusation that Islamabad denies.
The move has raised hackles among Pakistan’s leaders, who have slammed Washington for what they say is unjust blaming of Pakistan for US losses in Afghanistan, especially after seeking and receiving Islamabad’s help in the protracted peace talks with the Taliban last year.
The US Congress delegation on Monday had a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, during which the Pakistani leader said Islamabad and Washington needed to “deepen engagement to promote peace, stability and economic development in Afghanistan” and address its financial liquidity issues to prevent a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse.
On Tuesday, US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Gregory Meeks met Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Dr. Moeed Yusuf.
“Pakistan focused to leverage its geo-economic position by partnering with the world under the economic security model,” Yusuf said in a statement after the meeting. He added that Pakistan wants US economic partnerships and investment.
As the Afghan economy has plunged into economic crisis following the Taliban takeover, with international donors suspending billions of dollars in assistance and the US blocking Kabul’s access to nearly $10 billion in Afghan central bank assets, Yusuf said the problem “must be resolved quickly to avert the collapse of the system.”
Experts see US-Pakistan engagement as necessary in addressing the situation.
“US-Pakistan deeper engagement is essential as our real interests converge entirely in this regard,” Pakistan’s former Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told Arab News on Tuesday. “It is important for the US, as a world leader, to continue to play its indispensable role for stability in Afghanistan and this region.”  
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, a professor at the School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, said Pakistan had invited the US to “play their role in addressing the economic meltdown in Afghanistan and avoid the humanitarian crisis.”
He added that the current meetings indicated that “Americans still have interest in cultivating or sustaining better relations with Pakistan.”