News / Asia

Pakistan Urges US to Tread Carefully in Afghan Withdrawal

FILE - Adviser to the Pakistani prime minister on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz.
FILE - Adviser to the Pakistani prime minister on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz.
Reuters
A senior Pakistani official urged the United States on Monday to ensure the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan does not leave a vacuum that threatens regional stability and Pakistan's own security.
 
“Although the war in Afghanistan may be winding down, just as in the past, Pakistan will have to face the brunt of any instability that may engulf Afghanistan after 2014,” said   Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's national security and foreign affairs adviser.
 
Aziz and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered prepared remarks before opening discussions in Washington that are part of a 'strategic dialog,' which have sought to move bilateral relations beyond crisis-driven security concerns to cooperation on trade, energy and education.
 
The United States has long said that violence in its long war in Afghanistan has been driven in part by militants' ability to rest and resupply in western Pakistan. American ties with Pakistan have been further strained by U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan.
 
Kerry paid tribute to the high price Pakistan has paid in fighting extremism.
 
“I think few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than people in Pakistan,” Kerry said.
 
With violence in Afghanistan continuing, including a Jan. 17 suicide bombing that killed 21 civilians at a Kabul restaurant, the future of the U.S. and NATO presence in Afghanistan remains uncertain.
 
Unless the Obama administration can persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a bilateral security pact with the United States, all 37,000 U.S. soldiers are due to leave Afghanistan at the end of the year.
 
Aziz said the United States should consider Pakistan's security when making its next moves in Afghanistan, something he said Washington did not do when withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in the early 1990s or returned after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
 
“We have to ensure that Afghanistan successfully transitions into a period of stability and that past mistakes are not repeated,” Aziz said.
 
Kerry acknowledged those concerns and assured Pakistan that Washington valued its continued cooperation on fighting terrorism and on nuclear security.
 
“We recognize that Pakistan is a vital partner in supporting a secure Afghanistan,” he said. “And we know how closely Pakistan's own security is linked to Afghanistan's success.”
 
Despite such assurances, the strained relationship between the countries seeped through. Aziz said a prerequisite for a strategic partnership is mutual trust.
 
“Once this trust is restored, then any unexpected incident or accident or disagreement on a policy or a tactic will not be able to derail the relationship,” he said.
 
Both sides welcomed a move toward warmer relations signified by the strategic dialog and discussed increased investment in trade and energy. Kerry highlighted education and initiatives for the economic advancement of women in Pakistan.
 
“The resumption of this dialog after a gap of three years symbolizes the inherent resilience and significance of this relationship,” Aziz said.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs