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Tuesday May 21, 2024

COAS Gen Bajwa, US defence secretary discuss ‘mutual security goals’ in region

During the call, Secretary Austin expressed his interest in continuing to improve the U.S. – Pakistan relationship

By Web Desk
August 11, 2021
Combo shows US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin (L) and Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Bajwa (R)
Combo shows US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin (L) and Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Bajwa (R)

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin Wednesday made a telephone call to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss “mutual goals of security” in the region. 

The US defence secretary’s call comes in the backdrop of changing situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have made rapid advances in recent weeks and managed to take control of over six principal capitals.

According to a handout issued by the US Department of Defence, "During the call, Secretary Austin expressed his interest in continuing to improve the US – Pakistan relationship and build upon our multiple shared interests in the region."

"Secretary Austin and General Bajwa discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, regional security and stability, and the bilateral defence relationship more broadly," it added.

Pentagon’s statement about terrorists’ safe havens

A day earlier, the Pentagon had said that the US was having a dialogue with Pakistan over the alleged presence of safe havens for terrorists at the Pak-Afghan border, which it said were the sources of instability and insecurity in the region.

Speaking to media on Monday, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby had stressed on the neighbours of Afghanistan to refrain from actions that jeopardise regional security.

He had said dialogue was underway with Pakistan on safe havens for militants at the Pak-Afghan border, adding: “Pakistan has also been a major victim of terrorism”.

Responding to a question, Kirby had said, “So, we're all -- we all have a shared sense of -- of the importance of closing down those safe havens and -- and not allowing them to be used by the Taliban or other terrorist networks to sow discord. And again, we're having that conversation with the Pakistanis all the time.”

Expressing the resolve to continue Washington's support to the Afghan government, the Pentagon spokesperson had said the US will continue to provide aerial support to the Afghan Air Force whenever it is needed.