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Sunday December 05, 2021

No pact with US on airspace: FO

However, the FO did not rule out consultations, saying both countries remain engaged in regular constructions.

October 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) Saturday rejected western media reports that Pakistan had formalised an agreement with the United States (US) that Pakistan’s airspace could be used to conduct operations inside Afghanistan.

However, the FO did not rule out consultations, saying both countries remain engaged in regular constructions.

Senior US army generals recently, during a Senate hearing on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, admitted that talks on the issue were ongoing, but behind the closed doors.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said his government would not allow this, with the US responding that such a request was never made to Pakistan.

The issue arose when the CNN ran a report that the Biden administration had told lawmakers that the US was nearing formalising an agreement with Pakistan to use its airspace to conduct military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has expressed a desire to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in exchange for assistance with its own counterterrorism efforts and help in managing the relationship with India,” one of the sources said. “But the negotiations are ongoing,” another source said, “and the terms of the agreement, which has not been finalised, could still change,” said the CNN.

In response to the media queries regarding the latest news report alluding to formalisation of an agreement for the use of Pakistan’s airspace by the United States to conduct military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan, the spokesperson said that “no such understanding was in place.

“Pakistan and the US have longstanding cooperation on regional security and counterterrorism, and the two sides remain engaged in regular consultations,” said the Foreign Office. However, an agreement exists between the two sides which allows the US to use Pakistan’s land routes into Afghanistan.