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U.S must make ‘responsible’ troops withdrawal unlike 80s: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday asked the United States for a “responsible” withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and not to repeat the mistake of 80s’ pull out.

“Pakistan is asking [the U.S.] for a responsible withdrawal unlike 80s which created a vacuum for the destructive forces to take over,” he said in an exclusive interview with Fox News.

Qureshi, who is in Washington D.C. to hold talks with the U.S. administration in the wake of regional tension, spoke about the commitment of President Donald Trump on pullout of troops stationed in the conflict-hit Afghanistan.

He mentioned that Pakistan facilitated a dialogue with Taliban on the request of President Trump “in a hope for peace and stability”.

To a question on primary goal of his recent talks with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, the foreign minister said it was aimed at de-escalation and diffusion of the conflict to avert negative effects in the region.

On Afghan peace process, he expressed hope of an agreement between the U.S. and Taliban.

“The Taliban are today talking to U.S. and there is a possibility of an agreement,” he said, mentioning about Thursday’s announcement by Taliban of a ceasefire of 7-10 days before they could take next step leading to dialogue.

Asked about the role of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in supporting the Haqqani network, the foreign minister said, “Let’s not discuss the past but future, which is in every body’s interest.”

However, he mentioned ISI’s support for the Afghan peace process.
“ISI has been supporting the peace process. They have been facilitating and have used their little influence to bring the Taliban to negotiation as the U.S. asked for, which they delivered,” he said.

Would Prime Minister Imran Khan participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s regional summit to be held in India this October, he said, “The prime minister is very very clear that if India takes one step, Pakistan will take two.”

However, he regretted that unfortunately India was showing a negative attitude.
“Look at the repression and use of force going on, and the legislative work undertaken that saw protested all over India,” he said in reference to the siege in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the controversial passage of bills targeting minorities particularly Muslims.


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