Washington, Aug. 21 (TNS): A senior United States diplomat welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement calling for peace on Pakistan’s eastern and western borders.
“We welcome the words of PM Imran in which he discussed the importance of peace on both sides of Pakistan’s borders,” said US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells during a news briefing.
Ambassador Wells maintained that Pakistan “has a critical role to play in the stabilisation of Afghanistan” and appreciated efforts taken by the two countries to improve their bilateral relations.
The US statement comes as hostility intensifies in the war-torn country with the Taliban on a general offensive in many regions of the country.
“We have encouraged Pakistan to take stronger steps to ensure that the Taliban either come to the negotiating table or are expelled back into Afghanistan rather than enjoy a safe haven outside of the country,” said the US envoy while reiterating the role the country wants Pakistan to play in Afghanistan’s future.
The statement by the senior US diplomat came after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s provisional declaration of a three-month ceasefire with the Taliban in a televised broadcast on Sunday.
The announcement followed a bloody week of fighting across Afghanistan which saw the Taliban launch a massive assault against the provincial capital Ghazni.
Anticipation had been mounting ahead of Ghani’s speech following mixed signals from the presidential palace over whether the government would offer a fresh truce – following a brief, unprecedented ceasefire earlier in June.