The U.S. considers Pakistan “essential partner” in regional peace process
The incoming Biden administration understands that Pakistan is an “essential partner” in any peace process in Afghanistan, according to nominated defense chief Gen Lloyd J Austin. He also said that the U.S. believes that “continuing to build relationships with Pakistan’s military will provide openings for the United States and Pakistan to cooperate on key issues.” These remarks were made by Austin during his confirmation hearing for the post of secretary of defense before the United States Senate Armed Services Committee.
The former head of the U.S. central command emphasized the importance of having a local partner like Pakistan to ensure that the peace process is not spoiled by any regional actors. “Pakistan is an essential partner in any peace process in Afghanistan,” Austin said. “If confirmed, I will encourage a regional approach that garners support from neighbors like Pakistan, while also deterring regional actors, from serving as spoilers to the Afghanistan peace process.”
Austin understood that there are a number of factors at play in the region that must be accounted for. He added that there are “many factors in addition to the security assistance suspension may impact Pakistan’s cooperation, including Afghanistan negotiations and the dangerous escalation following the Pulwama terrorist attack.”
The general hoped that the two sides can build a stronger bond, which will help in controlling the extremist organizations and partnering on key issues.
“I will press Pakistan to prevent its territory from being used as a sanctuary for militants and violent extremist organizations. Continuing to build relationships with Pakistan’s military will provide openings for the United States and Pakistan to cooperate on key issues,” Austin said.
Reviewing the US-Taliban peace deal
The new administration will review that peace deal between the U.S. and the Taliban as it wants to bring the nearly twenty-years-old war to an end, and the soldiers back home.
“We want to end this so-called forever war,” Tony Blinken, the nominated Secretary of State said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We want to bring our forces home. We want to retain some capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place. We have to look carefully at what has actually been negotiated. I haven’t been privy to it yet.”