Washington, Islamabad
both suffering mistrust,
must overcome: Moeed Yusuf

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf has said there was mistrust Islamabad and Washington had to overcome, but both sides were “trying to do that.”

Meetings between Pakistani officials and a US delegation earlier this month led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman were widely described by media and experts as “strained” amid a worsening relationship between the two countries as each searches for a way forward in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf

Sherman’s visit followed Republican senators pressing for legislation back home that calls for sanctions on Pakistan for providing safe haven for the Taliban — Islamabad denies this. The move has raised hackles among Pakistan’s leaders, who have slammed Washington for what they say is the unjust blaming of Pakistan for America’s losses in Afghanistan — especially after seeking and receiving Islamabad’s help in the protracted peace talks with the Taliban.

Sherman also came to Pakistan straight from a visit to its arch-foe India where she told a gathering in Mumbai that the US did not see itself building a “broad relationship” with Islamabad.

“There is some mistrust that both sides have to overcome, and we are trying to do that, and that is also the reason why she [Sherman] came to Pakistan,” Yusuf said in an interview with Voice Of America this week. “The two countries are moving forward in a well-coordinated fashion, and there is no major crisis.”

Yusuf also rebuffed concerns by former US officials about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. “Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal by the grace of God has always been safe and will always remain safe,” Yusuf said, “and if anyone wants to lose sleep over it, it’s their choice.”