U.S. tells Pak new Afghan-U.S.-India forum 'not aimed against it'
Washington, June 18 (ANI): A trilateral forum, which brings the United States and India in a new arrangement with Afghanistan, is not directed against Pakistan, a senior U.S. official has said.
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake claims that the main goal of the forum, announced in Washington this week, was to bring stability and economic development to war-torn Afghanistan, reports The Dawn.
"This is certainly not in any way seen as directed against Pakistan. On the contrary, it is to talk about the situation inside Afghanistan, and how we continue to support Afghanistan," said Blake.
Official U.S. sources said the assurance is more than a conciliatory statement aimed at allaying Pakistan's fears.
The sources said that American policy makers genuinely believe that they need to address Pakistan's fears on three major issues- that the U.S. is encouraging India to squeeze Pakistan from both ends, that it wants to create an independent Balochistan, and that it has only short-term tactical interests in Pakistan, states the paper.
Pakistan's fears were sparked by recent statements by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who publicly criticised the country for continuing to support the Haqqani network.
During a visit to New Delhi last week, Panetta encouraged India to play a greater role in Afghanistan and the next day he told reporters in Kabul that the U.S. was running out of patience with Pakistan.
Top Republican lawmaker, Senator John McCain, reminded the Obama administration that encouraging India to take a more active role in Afghanistan while simultaneously criticising Pakistan could be a recipe for disaster. (ANI)
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