General

Pompeo, Pak Army chief talk ‘political reconciliation in Afghanistan’, bilateral links

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday held a phone conversation to talk about various matters, including strategy in South Asia.
In the call made by Pompeo, the two leaders discussed ways to advance the bilateral relations between Pakistan and the US, the Department of State confirmed.
According to Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the US State Department, other topics included “the need for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and the importance of targeting all militant and terrorist groups in South Asia without distinction”.
The US-Pakistan linkages have been tense as of late, and aid that Washington sends to Islamabad has been suspended as well, primarily after the Trump administration accused the latter of providing safe havens to terrorist outfits.
The US has also demanded that Pakistan take action against the Haqqani network as well as the Taliban, both of whom threaten and attack the US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Pakistan, however, has denied all such allegations, maintaining that it would continue to wage its war against terrorism.
Mid-May, the two countries imposed travel restrictions on each other’s diplomats working at the respective embassies. Pompeo, in this regard, had told lawmakers two weeks back that officials at the US embassy in Islamabad were not being treated well.
Pakistan, in return, had offered a fast-track mechanism to address any complaints and asked US to discuss issues of mutual concern.
It is noteworthy that this is the first time since travel restrictions were imposed that a high-level engagement has taken place.