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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More