US senior diplomat seeks Pakistan help to bring Taliban to Table


WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 (APP):The United States has specific expectations from Pakistan to help create conditions that will help bring Taliban to the negotiating table, Alice G. Wells, Acting Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asian Affairs said on Friday.
Secretary Wells, who is also Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, briefed media about the recent visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to the region that included Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
She said that “candid” conversation was held between the Secretary and the Pakistani leadership. She said that Secretary Tillerson underscored the new South Asia strategy and that Pakistan has the most to benefit from a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan has conveyed its reservations to the US leadership on the South Asia strategy that seeks a greater role for India in Afghanistan. Pakistan has also expressed its support to an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace process and has assured all its support.
Secretary Tillerson, she said, has noted that at several critical junctures over the last 70 years, the United States has worked very closely with Pakistan, and the Coleman hostage was an example of what the two countries can achieve when working together.
However, Ms. Wells observed that the US has some specific expectations of how Pakistan can help create the conditions that will help bring the Taliban on the table.
Ms. Wells said that in 2014 Pakistan took a strategic decision to defeat the terrorist groups that were targeting Pakistan. “And with great loss of life, great courage, great vision about what needed to be done, Pakistan has fought that battle and now has regained control and sovereignty over the FATA territories.”
She, however, made an oft-repeated observation that Pakistan should take action against all terrorist groups. Pakistan has already rejected such US allegations and said that it is already taking action against all terrorist groups without any discrimination.
Ms. Wells said the Secretary welcomed General Bajwa’s trip to Kabul, the commitment to ensure that either country’s territory or soil would not be used against another, and “we very much look forward to the implementation of the commitments that were made between the Afghan and Pakistani leadership.”
She made it clear that America was not giving any dictation and that the US has only described its strategy to the Pakistani leadership. ” We’ve described a very important role for Pakistan, who we see as a very important country in the region,” she added.
Responding to a question, the Acting Secretary said that historically, the United States has been able to work with Pakistan and accomplish great things together, including arrest of most of the al-Qaida leadership.
She maintained that Pakistan has an influence over Taliban, but added that though one can debate how much influence it has over militants. But, she observed that the US wants Pakistan to use that influence to encourage the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. “And we can work together,” she added.