PM Imran ‘incredibly crucial’ to Afghan peace process: US

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Shafaqna Pakistan:Acknowledging the importance of Islamabad in the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process, the United States said Prime Minister Imran Khan will be “incredibly crucial” in helping Washington with a peace deal in the war-torn country.

“But I would say that obviously that Prime Minister Khan is going to be incredibly crucial in helping us with these – with this peace deal and with this peace negotiation that continues,” said US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus during a briefing.

The prime minister said earlier that he had assured President Trump that Pakistan would do ‘whatever is in its power to facilitate the Afghan peace process’. He had also said that he would meet the Afghan Taliban to convince them for a peace deal.

The State Department spokesperson elaborated on her remark and added that Trump and Secretary Pompeo had also alluded to the importance of Pakistan’s role in helping the US pursue peace in Afghanistan.

The nearly two-decade-long war in Afghanistan has dragged more and more US troops into the conflict and Washington is now looking for a dignified exit.

Replying to another question regarding India’s unilateral and illegal move in occupied Kashmir, the spokesperson deflected a question regarding human rights violations in the occupied valley but conceded that there are reports of “detentions and restrictions of residents in Jammu and in Kashmir”.

“There are reports, as you’ve mentioned, of detentions and restrictions of residents in Jammu and in Kashmir. And again, that’s why we continue to monitor this very, very closely.”

Ortagus, referring to Kashmir as an incredibly important issue, added that the US is heavily engaged in South Asia and routinely talks to Pakistan and India on issues facing the region.

She, however, said that there has been no change in Washington’s Kashmir policy after Article 370 was revoked in the occupied valley.

The Afghan Taliban earlier said they are ready to send their delegation to Pakistan for a meeting with Prime Minister Imran if Islamabad extends a formal invitation.

The statement from the Taliban came just a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan completed a ‘successful’ visit to the US. During his three-day visit, Afghan endgame remained on top of the agenda.