In any peace settlement in Afghanistan, the Biden administration sees Pakistan as a “essential partner” and claims that “continuing to build relations with Pakistan’s military will provide opportunities for the United States and Pakistan to cooperate on key issues,” says its appointed security chief, Gen Lloyd J Austin.
During his confirmation hearing for the position of Secretary of Defense before the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Gen Austin made these remarks.
Austin, a former head of the US Central Command, told the committee that Pakistan is an integral partner in any peace process in Afghanistan. ” Austin, a former head of the US Central Command, told the committee. “
Gen Austin, when asked what changes he will propose to US relations with Pakistan as the new defence minister, said: “I will concentrate on our shared interests, including training future military leaders of Pakistan through the use of funds for international military education and training.” In any diplomatic resolution in Afghanistan, Pakistan will play an important part. We will need to collaborate with Pakistan to fight al Qaeda and the Khorasan Province of the Islamic State (ISIS-K) and boost regional security.
Asked if, after the Trump administration’s decision in 2018 to withdraw security assistance, he has seen some change in Pakistan’s cooperation with the US, Gen Austin said: “I understand that Pakistan has taken constructive steps to meet US requests in support of the Afghanistan peace process.” Pakistan has also taken action, but this development is incomplete, against anti-Indian groups such as Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Mohammad.
The general admitted, however, that “many factors, in addition to the suspension of security assistance, may affect Pakistan’s cooperation, including negotiations in Afghanistan and the dangerous escalation following the Pulwama terrorist attack.”
Pakistan is a sovereign republic, he said when asked what instruments and choices Pakistan had to be influenced by the US.
To avoid its territories from being used as a refuge for terrorists and terrorist terrorist groups, I will press Pakistan. Continuing to establish alliances with Pakistan’s military would offer ways to collaborate on critical issues for the United States and Pakistan.
Peace deal review
In the meantime, Tony Blinken, who appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate for his confirmation hearing for the post of Secretary of State, said he needed to revisit the US-Taliban peace agreement, but explained that the peace process begun by the Trump administration will proceed with the new administration as well.
A review of the peace agreement will be conducted by Blinken, who is a retired State Department official, since, like the outgoing Trump administration that signed the deal, the current US rulers still seek to resolve the nearly 20-year-long war in Afghanistan.
We want this so-called eternal war to end,” he insisted. “We want to get our troops home. Blinken said, “We want to retain some ability to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place.” “We need to look carefully at what has actually been negotiated. I have not yet been privy to it.”
President-elect Joe Biden of America said that while decreasing the number of fighting forces in Afghanistan, he would not remove the military presence of the United States.
Last year, during a debate between Democratic presidential candidates, Biden said: “We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to air lift from and to move against what we know.”
Blinken also vowed at his hearing on Tuesday to recognise the rights of Afghan women and girls whose liberties under the Taliban rule were seriously curtailed.
I do not think that any result they will achieve,” Blinken said of nascent talks between Taliban and the Kabul government, “is durable without maintaining the progress achieved over the past 20 years by women and girls in Afghanistan.
Relations with India
The Biden administration would also like to maintain a strong friendship with India, Blinken said.
India was a bipartisan success storey for our successive regimes. It began at the end of the administration of Clinton,’ he said.
We also deepened coordination on defence acquisition and intelligence exchange under the Obama presidency. The Trump administration took it forward, including its Indo-Pacific idea, and to ensure that we collaborated with India so that no nation in the region could threaten its sovereignty, including China.
The US, he added, will also continue to cooperate with India on terrorism issues shared by the two countries.
“We can deepen the cooperation that successive administrations have placed on us in many ways,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.