'There is trust deficit between Pak, US over Afghanistan'

Pakistans Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

"The way Tillerson had to meet Afghan President Asharaf Ghani at Baghram Airbase shows the USA and forces of 16 other countries failed to restore peace in Afghanistan during the last sixteen year... so our contribution to eradicate the menace of terrorism from our soil must not be downplayed", he added.

The Pakistan foreign minister also said that the numerous key Taliban names are now now shadow governors in Afghanistan or dead.

There is a "huge trust deficit" between Pakistan and the United States over the Afghan conflict, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told the BBC.

In response to a question about the conditions put forward by the USA for Pakistan today, the minister said that Tillerson emphasised on the need for Pakistan to deal with the Haqqani Network and terrorists' safe havens on its soil.

THOUGH officially sketchy information was released by both sides as statement of Foreign Office and the US Embassy contained their own version and not what the other side said or wanted but media reports clearly speak of no breakthrough in talks between Pakistan and the United States as a result of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Pakistani leadership parley on Tuesday. He added the list provided to the Pakistani authorities has Haqqani on the top.

He said the power has been given to us by 20 million people of Pakistan and not by the US. Pakistan regularly denies that it hosts terror groups fighting the U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. They must do some self-accountability also.

"We did not surrender on one phone call like General Musharraf [did], and instead conveyed to the USA that we will not fight its proxy war", he said, adding that USA had been told that Pakistan did not need any economic assistance and military equipment but relations between the two countries should be based on mutual respect. "Let this policy be framed by politicians and policymakers over there", he remarked.

Khawaja Asif also talked about the unprecedented violations of ceasefire on the Eastern border over the last one year and regretted that Afghanistan was playing the role of facilitator for India. There were not a single Afghan post along 648 Km border and terrorists were carrying out terrorist activities from there, he added.

He said that several U.S. leaders can make statements negating the role of Pakistan, but it will act in self-restraint and hope to maintain cordial relations with them.

Speaking on the Senate's floor, Asif reiterated that Pakistan would never compromise on national sovereignty and dignity.

He said that Pakistan has unmatched experience in the war against terror and we have made our country safe and secure after great sacrifices by our security forces and people of the country.The minister said this was trust of the US government on Pakistan's security situation that the US Secretary was given a normal security that was required. Separately, talking to Geo TV, he said that Pakistani leaders told Tillerson that there were no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.

Pak-US relations, stability in Afghanistan and regional security issues will be discussed during the meetings.



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