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December 4, 2018

Trump admits Afghan war cost US, Pakistan: FO

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December 4, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has welcomed the decision from the United States in which it asked Pakistan to explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership, especially in bringing peace inside Afghanistan and find a closure for the 17-year-old war.

The change of heart and renewed respect for the PTI government came in a letter received by Prime Minister Imran Khan from US President Donald Trump. Trump’s letter is a clear admission that without the support of Pakistan, it is impossible for any forward movement on Afghanistan, a fact that the Kabul administration has admitted from time to time, and a far cry from the angry Tweets that Trump had directed towards Pakistan.

“President Trump in his letter to the prime minister has acknowledged that the war in Afghanistan had cost both US and Pakistan and in this regard he sought Pakistan’s support and facilitation,” the Foreign Office said in a statement, though it did not release the text of the US letter itself.

“Since Pakistan has always advocated a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan, the US decision is welcomed. Pakistan reiterates its commitment to play a facilitation role in good faith. Peace and stability in Afghanistan remains a shared responsibility,” President Trump was informed.

Trump’s letter reached Islamabad just a day before the expected visit to Islamabad today (Tuesday) by Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, announced the US State Department.

“And I’m off again: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Watch this space for updates on our efforts to support & facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan,” Khalilzad had tweeted.

The US envoy will meet Pakistan’s civil-military leadership during his stay in the country and exchange views on ways to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan. Khalilzad last visited the region in November, where he met with members of the Afghan civil society and other government officials.

Trump’s subdued tone is certainly different from his angry Tweets where he recently hinted that Pakistan all along knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding and Pakistan “hadn’t done a dam thing for us”.

Reacting quickly, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua summoned United States Chargé d'Affaires (CdA) Ambassador Paul Jones to register a strong protest against the "unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations made against Pakistan" by Donald Trump over the last two days.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had also highlighted Pakistan's efforts in the war against terrorism and for regional peace, saying the country "has done much more for peace in Afghanistan than any other country".

"Pakistan has successfully fought against terrorism while also contributing to regional peace," a tweeted by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor quoted the army chief as saying.

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