Anti-terror talks with Pakistan to continue, says US

ISLAMABAD: With terrorism topping American concerns about Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, a senior United States official on Friday said Washington would continue its engagement with Islamabad on counterterrorism efforts.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, speaking to a group of journalists at the American embassy in Islamabad, said: “Indeed we’ll be continuing our counterterrorism dialogue.”

Continuation of discussions on counterterrorism was apparently the only concrete commitment offered by the top diplomat with regard to the future of bilateral ties although several other elements of cooperation were also touched upon during her meetings.

“The United States and Pakistan have a long history of security cooperation and deep personal relationships between our military leaders, both of which are essential components of our counterterrorism efforts,” she recalled.

She did not specify Washington’s expectations from Islamabad regarding counterterrorism cooperation, but broadly said the US would like to ensure “there is no terrorism here in Pakistan, in Afghanistan or in any country in the region or in the world for that matter.”

Ms Sherman during her two-day stay in Pakistan met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa.

She was also expected to see Prime Minister Imran Khan, but the meeting could not materialise.

The senior US official, who had reached here after her visit to India, received a rather cold reception because of her remarks about Pakistan in Mumbai that did not go down well here.

At an event in the Indian financial and commercial city, she said Washington no longer sees itself building a “broad-based relationship” with Pakistan and that she was going there with a “specific and narrow purpose” of talks on Afghanistan.

The deputy secretary of state was on her arrival at Foreign Office received by Director General (Americas) Fawad Sher in a departure from the practice of foreign guests being received by their counterparts.