WASHINGTON: US State Department has urged Pakistan to play a key role in bringing about a comprehensive government in Kabul, but a lawmaker has warned that the United States could re-enter Afghanistan if the situation worsens.
The statement came after Pakistan’s US and UN envoys assured that Islamabad also wanted a comprehensive government in Kabul and was ready to work with the international community to achieve that goal.
“We are in regular contact with the Pakistani leadership and have had detailed discussions on Afghanistan,” a State Department spokesman told Dawn.
“Pakistan has consistently and publicly advocated for a comprehensive government in Afghanistan with broad support and we see Pakistan playing a key role in activating this outcome,” the official added.
Responding to a question from Dawn, the State Department spokesman pointed out that the entire international community is involved in ensuring that the Taliban live up to their public promises and responsibilities.
The official added: “It is important that members of the most influential international community in Afghanistan use all means at their disposal to ensure that Afghanistan fulfills its responsibilities under the UN Charter.” Fulfill the obligations.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham suggested the US would reinvade Afghanistan if the Taliban allowed militants to regrow their roots in a country that was reportedly used for planning attacks on US soil in September 2001.
“The Taliban are not reformed, they are not new, … most importantly, they’re going to give safe haven to Al Qaeda, who have ambitions to drive us out of the Mideast writ large and attack us because of our way of life,” Senator Graham said.
“We will be going back into Afghanistan as we went back into Iraq and Syria.”
The interviewer, Stephen Sackur, interrupted him and asked: “You seriously think the United States will once again, in the foreseeable future, put troops back into Afghanistan?”
Senator Graham replied: “We’ll have to. We’ll have to. Because the threat will be so large … It will be a cauldron for radical Islamic behaviour.”
The US invaded Iraq in 2003, withdrew its forces in 2011 but sent them back three years later. Nearly 2,500 American troops are still there. No US official, however, has spoken about the need to resend US troops to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, in an opinion piece in The Washington Times newspaper, Pakistan’s US ambassador Asad Majeed Khan argued that “Pakistan and the United States retain the same interests in Afghanistan — the formation of an inclusive government that reflects Afghanistan’s ethnic and sectarian diversity.”
Such a government, he said, should also “preserve the country’s gains in advancing human rights and women’s access to education”.
In an interview with another US media outlet, Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram indicated that while Islamabad had some influence in Afghanistan, it could not force the Taliban to do what they did not want to.
“We hope Afghan leaders will listen to a sincere friend in trying to form an inclusive government” where all the ethnic groups and minorities including Tajiks, Hazaras and Shia Muslims were represented.
“I think that if they are responsible, they will see the wisdom of [an] inclusive government, and hopefully, we will have a government which can actually bring peace to the country,” he added.