The US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells, during an interview to the The Hindu, said that “it is an excellent initiative between the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to strengthen their bilateral relationship” and “we fully support the framework agreement that they are seeking to formalise and the action groups that are embedded in it and would like to see concrete steps to improve the relations whether it is on trade or aid or border management or refugees.”
“The Afghanistan-Pakistan talks have been underway ever since General (Qamar Javed) Bajwa went to Kabul in October 2017. We are very supportive of that,” she said.
In response to a question regarding India- Pakistan relations, she said that “We always encourage India and Pakistan to sit down and resolve issues.”
She said she hoped “conditions can emerge that will allow for a more productive exchange between India and Pakistan.”
“We see initial constructive steps and we want to build on that. Our conversation with Pakistan is about the unique influence it has and the unique levers it has in helping to shape Taliban expectations and to convince the Taliban to walk through what we all recognise is an open door. Those conversations are ongoing.”
“We are not walking away from Pakistan, but we do not believe that yet we have seen the kind of sustainable and irreversible steps that are required to really change the situation on the ground,” she added.
In response to a question, she praised General Bajwa’s statement that “the ‘state must have the monopoly on violence’, that there is ‘no role for non-state actors’, and that ‘Pakistan can’t be a normal states if there are extremist groups’. Those are extremely positive statements and now I think the challenge is to see them implemented. ”
“There will soon be a new civilian leadership in Pakistan, and we will see how the new government will take steps to demonstrate to the international community that Pakistan is serious about curbing terror financing and money laundering.”