US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has confirmed that the United States had discussions with Pakistan in the military, intelligence and diplomatic channels to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a base from which terrorist groups would not attack the US – but he did not go into details about it.
Sullivan made the remarks at a press briefing on Monday in response to a question on the US’s willingness to have a drone base in Pakistan.
“We have had constructive discussions in the military, intelligence, and diplomatic channels with Pakistan about the future of America’s capabilities to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a base from which al Qaeda or Daesh or any other terrorist group can attack the United States,” Sullivan said.
“But in terms of the specifics of what that will look like, that will have to remain in those private channels as we work through them.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that the CIA is seeking ways to maintain its intelligence-gathering, war-fighting and counterterrorism operations in the country.
The report focused on Pakistan, saying “the CIA used a base there for years to launch drone strikes against militants in the country’s western mountains, but was kicked out of the facility in 2011, when US relations with Pakistan unraveled.
Pakistani officials have rejected reports on Islamabad’s willingness to allow US bases on its soil to maintain counterterrorism capabilities in Afghanistan.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on May 25 dismissed the possibility of allowing the US to operate a military base on Pakistani territory or conduct “kinetic drone” operations against Afghanistan.
“Let this house and the Pakistani nation be a witness to my testimony that under [Prime Minister] Imran Khan there will be no American base built on Pakistani soil. Forget about the past,” he told the upper house of the parliament as quoted in a report by VOA.