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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

Key stock indexes in London, Paris and Germany were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs