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Thursday, December 13, 2018 | Today's Paper

Trump writes letter to PM Imran, seeks Pakistan’s help to resolve Afghan issue

Published on – December 3, 2018 – 9:54 pm
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ISLAMABAD: United States of America (USA) President Donald Trump on Monday has written a letter to Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan asking for help in resolving the Afghanistan issue.


According to sources, the premier held meeting with senior journalists and anchors in Islamabad and discussed ongoing country’s situation.

On the occasion, Imran Khan said that Trump has asked for Pakistan’s assistance for negotiation with Afghan Taliban. US has also realized now that peace cannot be attained in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s help, he added.

Trump asked for Pakistan’s “support and facilitation” in negotiating an end to the war and offered to renew the strained relationship, Pakistan’s foreign ministry also confirmed.

The overture to Khan represents a sea change from Trump’s normally harsh rhetoric towards Pakistan, and will add to growing speculation that the United States is planning to pull out of Afghanistan in the near future.

The U.S. president wants to bring to a close the 17-year-old conflict between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, who are fighting to drive out international forces.

“He (Donald Trump) has asked for Pakistan’s cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Reuters.

Trump told Khan the Pakistan relationship was very important to the United States and to finding a solution to the Afghanistan conflict, Chaudhry added.

Trump has been open about his desire to bring home about 14,000 U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support and a separate counter-terrorism mission aimed against militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“President Trump has also acknowledged that the war had cost both USA and Pakistan. He has emphasised that Pakistan and USA should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that Pakistan is committed to playing “a facilitation role in good faith”.

“Peace and stability in Afghanistan remain a shared responsibility.”

UNEASY ALLIES

Officially allies in fighting terrorism, Pakistan and the United States have a complicated relationship, bound by Washington’s dependence on Pakistan to supply its troops in Afghanistan but plagued by accusations Islamabad is playing a double game.

Last month, Trump said in an interview Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing” for the United States despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid, adding that Pakistani officials knew of former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s location before his killing by U.S. troops in a 2011 raid inside Pakistan.

Khan hit back by saying the United States should not blame Pakistan for its failings in Afghanistan.

Last week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he had formed a 12-strong team to negotiate peace with the Taliban, but warned that implementation of any deal would take at least five years.