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Saturday January 28, 2023

US, Pakistan share stake in Afghan future: Blinken

By News Desk
September 28, 2022

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday the United States and Pakistan have a shared stake in Afghanistan’s future after two decades of war. A State Department press release quoted Blinken as saying this as he met Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Blinken said, “We continue to work closely on counterterrorism issues. We have a shared stake in Afghanistan’s future after two decades of war. We’ve had our differences; that’s no secret. But we share a common objective: a more stable, a more peaceful, and free future for all of Afghanistan and for those across the broader region. We’ll continue to work together toward that end as well as support the basic human rights of the Afghan people, especially women and girls.”

He said Pakistan and the US have worked together to complete incredibly significant development projects like the Mangla and Tarbela dams, which at one time provided some 70 percent of Pakistan’s power. He said, “In our discussions today, we talked about the importance of managing a responsible relationship with India…. We spoke, too, about the importance of meeting our commitments as democracies, upholding core values like respect for freedom of religion, belief, freedom of expression.”

Talking about economic growth, Blinken highlighted women’s role. He said, “One of the most important ways to spur economic growth and prosperity is, for example, through empowering women and girls and ensuring that they can participate fully in the economy. That’s why we’ve supported that goal for the past decade through something you’ve heard referenced, the US-Pakistan Women’s Council, a platform that … fosters cooperation between corporations, philanthropy, civil society from both countries to advance women’s empowerment in Pakistan.” He said, “Through one of their projects, the Pakistan Million Women’s Mentor Initiative, companies like S&P Global, Deloitte, Citi, and others have provided skills training and mentorship for more than 10,000 women entrepreneurs over just the past year alone. I am convinced that the ripple effects from that next year, in five years, in 10 years, in 20 years, are going to be significant.” “This is a resilient relationship. It’s capable of overcoming challenges that we’ve had to confront,” Blinken added.

Speaking on the occasion, Bilawal said Paki-US relationship is not only resilient, it has also stood the test of time. He said, “We’ve proved throughout history that when we work together, we achieve great things. And I believe that when we don’t work together, …. then we falter, then things go wrong.”

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