18 July 2019

Lindsey Graham urges Trump to meet Pakistan PM Khan: Page 2 of 2

Tense ties

Relations between erstwhile allies Pakistan and the United States have been tense since Trump cut more than $1bn in US security assistance to the country last year, accusing the government of duplicity in its dealings with Afghanistan.

Afghan and US officials have long accused Pakistan of offering sanctuary and support to elements of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network armed groups, which have been fighting US-led NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan since 2001.

Pakistan denies the charges, although in recent months the Foreign Office has, in several statements, acknowledged the country's role as a "facilitator" in the process.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad held meetings with Pakistan's foreign minister and army chief during a two-day visit on Thursday and Friday, with both sides pledging to continue the dialogue process and to facilitate talks with the Afghan Taliban.

The US has held several rounds of talks with Afghan Taliban representatives in the Qatari capital Doha and in the United Arab Emirates, although negotiations appear to have hit an impasse when last week the Taliban threatened to call off discussions.

Also on Sunday, US CENTCOM chief General Joseph Votel held talks with Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, with the Afghan peace process high on the agenda, a military press release said.[mr/aje]

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