The United States considers Pakistan an important partner and “we have shared interests when it comes to Afghanistan, when it comes to peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price acknowledged Pakistan’s importance during a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday.
Replying to a question by Afghan journalist Nazira Azim Karimi, he said: “Well, I think what is true is that Pakistan is an important partner across any number of fronts. Of course, we have shared interests when it comes to Afghanistan, when it comes to peace and stability in Afghanistan. We have – and this goes over the course of successive administrations now – encouraged Pakistan to be a constructive partner when it comes to Afghanistan and our collective efforts to bring about some semblance of peace and security there.”
The spokesman said Pakistan has been helpful in – recently when it comes to this shared interest. “Our shared interests go well beyond that: broader counterterrorism interests as well, not to mention the people-to-people ties that unite our two countries,” he added.
He said that all of Afghanistan’s neighbours need to play a constructive role in helping to bring about a just and durable political settlement as well as a comprehensive ceasefire. “For far too long, some of Afghanistan’s neighbours have not played that role. They had been happy to let other countries take responsibility. And right now, we have made clear that we are going to be working very closely to ensure that Afghanistan’s neighbours do play that constructive role, knowing that it will be a necessary ingredient to what I think we all collectively hope to see in Afghanistan,” Price continued.
Regarding the Afghan government and the Taliban meeting in Iran, spokesman Price said: “We’re of course aware that Iran has hosted a meeting between the Taliban and the Islamic Republic negotiating teams. This is what we’ve always said, that Afghanistan’s neighbours and countries in the region, they too have a stake in Afghanistan’s future. They need to use their influence in ways that are positive, in ways that are constructive, in ways that promote the cause of peace, in ways that support the people of Afghanistan. We know that regional consensus and support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process is important for an enduring peace.”
About the recent spike in violence in Afghanistan, he said “no government that might come to power in Afghanistan through the use of force, at the barrel of a gun, will have legitimacy or the support – and that can be especially critical – from the international community, nor would a government that comes to power by force have the support of the people of Afghanistan.
“And what we ultimately hope to help support and will seek to help support is a just and durable settlement. Every party has an interest in a settlement being durable. The Afghan people are – have been burdened and in many cases brutalised by 40 years of civil war. The United States is supporting the efforts ongoing in Doha right now between the parties, where the parties are, in fact, still meeting, still talking, to see to it that we can have a just and durable settlement and a comprehensive ceasefire to finally see an end to this violence,” Price continued.
He was optimistic about Doha talks and said that the US is grateful for Qatar’s role. “The talks in Doha are ongoing. The parties continue to meet in Doha. We do welcome Turkey, Qatar, and the UN’s outstanding offer to host negotiations between the parties.”