WASHINGTON There is a need to build upon the commitments made by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to the US on facilitating the Afghan peace talks and the fight against terrorism, a senior State Department official said, days after the premier met President Donald Trump.
India and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of providing safe haven to the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other militant groups, which carry out terror attacks in the two countries.
The US is seeking “continued progress” from Pakistan on shared security priorities, including defeating terror organisations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Prime Minister Khan during his recent visit to the US.
State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told reporters that the US is committed to peace in Afghanistan.
“There was a number of issues that were discussed not only in the President’s meeting but with the Secretary’s meeting as well, and now is the time to build upon that meeting and build upon those commitments,” she said.
Describing Khan’s meeting with Trump and Pompeo earlier this week as an “initial” one, she said this gave the chance to the President and the Secretary of State to meet the Pakistan Prime Minister and build a personal connection and rapport.
“Now we think it is time to make progress on the success of this first meeting. I would note one of the things that the prime minister said that he vowed to urge the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government,” Ortagus said.
The US, she said, was committed to the fight against terrorism.
“When it comes to fighting terrorism, you have a secretary of state who has been committed to this his entire career and that is something that he is always going to raise with allies and friends and whomever comes to the table,” Ortagus said.
The US, she said, was working with Pakistan to get hostages released.
“We are working closely with the Pakistanis on recovering them. We think his (Khan’s) statements were helpful and we are of course hopeful that there will be some action proceeding those statements,” the state department spokesperson said without elaborating about the hostages.
During his talks with Prime Minister Khan, Pompeo emphasised the continued importance of the US and Pakistan working together to advance shared priorities, including Pakistan’s significant role in supporting the Afghan peace process and counter-terrorism.