U.S. lauds Pakistan's role in Afghan peace


KABUL: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin commended Pakistan’s assistance and role in bringing peace to Afghanistan on Monday.

According to a readout of the conversation released by the Pentagon, Austin “expressed appreciation for Islamabad’s continuing support for the Afghan peace process” in a phone conversation with Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa.

While returning from an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Sunday to examine the war-torn region’s situation, the defense secretary called Gen. Bajwa.

In the Afghan peace process, Pakistan is considered to have facilitated the signing of the US-Taliban deal and, subsequently, the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, which are currently at a standstill.

In his chat with the army chief, Austin reassured him that the U.S. wants to continue working with Pakistan in areas of “general interest.”

This is while the Biden administration is currently reviewing the US-Taliban signed in February of last year, under which U.S. troops were to leave Afghanistan by May 1.

Following the evaluation process, the new U.S. president will decide whether or not to stick to the agreed-upon troop withdrawal timetable.