LONDON: Zed Tarar, A spokesperson for the US State Department, Zed Tarar has said that the US administration reiterates that “territorial disputes in South Asia have one solution: dialogue between Pakistan and India”.
Talking to media-persons in London on Friday, about the US role in Afghanistan, Tarar said: “We want the future of Afghanistan to be in the hands of the people of Afghanistan. We are not abandoning Afghanistan, we will work towards a better future but it is not a military solution. Our diplomatic assistance to Afghanistan will continue.”
Tarar said that both Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken recognise that civil war in Afghanistan is not in the interest of anyone in the region.
Zed Tarar dismissed the perception that the absence of direct communication between US President Joe Biden and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan implied ailing bilateral relations between the two countries.
President Biden, who assumed the top executive office of his country earlier this year, has remained mired in diplomatic engagements, though he has not made a phone call to the Pakistani prime minister even after his administration is trying to figure out how to deal with the situation in Afghanistan after ordering a pullout of US forces.
Several senior US officials have otherwise recognized Pakistan’s significance to the emerging situation in the region, with some of them urging the administration in Islamabad to exercise its influence with the Taliban and convince insurgent group to deescalate violence in its neighboring country.
“We don’t see relations with Pakistan through one office or one administration,” Dawn quoted Zed Tarar. “They are based on bilateral respect,” he continued. “I don’t know the logistics of why the phone call has not taken place, but I can say that the US-Pakistan relationship is an old one.”
The spokesperson denied that the absence of direct communication between the two top leaders implied that Washington was trying to coldshoulder Pakistani authorities.
“I would not read such a message into it,” Zed Tarar said. “If you see our overall relationship, we have several engagements and are constantly in communication. Senior Pakistani officials are talking to their US counterparts, and we are announcing that in a transparent manner.”
“If we start going down the road of ticking boxes of invites and phone calls,” he continued, “it would be silly especially without looking at the broader picture.”
Zed Tarar maintained the United States and Pakistan had tremendous confluence of interest and that was not likely to change in the foreseeable future.
Asked about the situation in Afghanistan, he denied that Washington was abandoning the war-torn country and said its “diplomatic assistance to Afghanistan will continue.”
He noted that the US wanted Pakistan to play a positive role in its neighbouring state Afghanistan since it was not in Islamabad’s interest to “see Afghanistan in a civil war.”
“Tackling the Covid-19 pandemic is a major priority [for the Biden administration]. Our administration is working tirelessly to defeat Covid globally. The US sent 3 million doses of Moderna to Pakistan this week, which was the second shipment after 2.5m vaccine doses were sent earlier,” Tarar said.
He added that Pakistan has also been given $60 million in assistance to combat Covid-19, saying “it’s a small part in the hope that we can work with our allies to overcome the pandemic”.
When asked why US President Joe Biden has not made telephonic contact with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Tarar said: “There is no such thing [snub or oversight]. I would not read such a message into it. If you see our overall relationship, we have several engagements and are constantly in communication. Senior Pakistani officials are talking to their US counterparts and we are announcing that in a transparent manner.
“If we start going down the road of ticking boxes of invites and phone calls, it would be silly especially without looking at the broader picture.”
Tarar added: “We don’t see relations with Pakistan through one office or one administration. They are based on bilateral respect. I don’t know the logistics of why the phone call has not taken place, but I can say that the US-Pakistan relationship is an old one. If you see our actions, for instance the fact that the US sent 3m doses to Islamabad — there is no doubt that our relationship is strong.”
He also said: “Pakistan and the US have shared interests that aren’t going away. On that basis, we continue to speak on every level to officials in the Pakistan government.”