National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf has complained about US President Joe Biden’s failure to contact Prime Minister Imran Khan over the Afghanistan issue, reported the Financial Times on Tuesday.
Yusuf along with Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Faiz Hameed are on a visit to US for talks with their American counterparts over Afghanistan and other bilateral issues.
“The president of the United States hasn’t spoken to the prime minister of such an important country who the US itself says is make-or-break in some cases, in some ways, in Afghanistan — we struggle to understand the signal, right?” Yusuf told the Financial Times in an interview at Pakistan’s embassy in Washington.
“We’ve been told every time that . . . [the phone call] will happen, it’s technical reasons or whatever. But frankly, people don’t believe it,” he said.
“If a phone call is a concession, if a security relationship is a concession, Pakistan has options,” he added, refusing to elaborate.
Admitting the importance of Pakistan in Afghan peace talks and bringing Taliban to the negotiating table with fewer attacks on US forces, Washington sought Islamabad’s role in stopping Taliban from taking over the war-torn country after complete withdrawal of US troops by the end of August.
After a two-day visit to India in July, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Times of India channel, “Pakistan has a vital role to play in using its influence with the Taliban to do whatever it can to make sure that the Taliban does not seek to take the country by force.”
He added: “And it does have influence, and it does have a role to play, and we hope that it plays it.”
Meanwhile, the prime minister had called to broaden Pak-US relations beyond Afghanistan. But Biden has yet to call the premier since he assumed the office this year.
Quoting a senior Biden administration official, the Financial Times said: “There are still a number of world leaders President Biden has not been able to speak with personally yet. He looks forward to speaking with Prime Minister Khan when the time is right.”
On the other hand the Taliban and the Kabul government are far apart in US-backed talks on bringing peace to Afghanistan, with the insurgents demanding "the lion's share of power" in any new government, reported Reuters, quoting the Afghan-born veteran US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad.
US has announced a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war which initiated after 9/11 attacks.