Pakistan taken aback by Blinken’s remarks

Pakistan taken aback by Blinken's remarks

NEW DELHI: Pakistan came out strongly against comments made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other lawmakers during the recent Congressional hearings on Afghanistan, and clearly said that the remarks were not in line with the close cooperation between Islamabad and Washington, The News International reported.

“This was surprising as Pakistan’s positive role in the Afghan peace process, recent facilitation of the multinational evacuation effort from Afghanistan, and continued support for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan have been duly acknowledged, including most recently by the US State Department spokesperson in his briefing of September 1,” said the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman.

Testifying before Congress on the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, Blinken told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that his administration would soon be reassessing its relationship with Pakistan as it has a “multiplicity of interests, some that are in conflict with ours”.

“It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harbouring members of the Taliban. It is one that’s also involved in different points of cooperation with us on counterterrorism,” Blinken had said.

Pakistan was clearly taken aback by these remarks, said The News International report. “Let me further recall that Pakistan had played a critical role in helping the US degrade AlQaeda’s core leadership in Afghanistan, which was the international coalition’s core objective,” said the Ministry spokesman.

“At the same time, Pakistan had always maintained that there was no military solution to the larger Afghan conflict and that a political settlement offered the only plausible pathway to sustainable peace in Afghanistan a position now shared by the US.”

The spokesman brushed aside Blinken’s remarks critical of the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years and the role the US wants to see it play in the coming years, the report added.