U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently completed visits to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
On his recent trip to Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson reinforced the United States’ long-term commitment to Afghanistan’s security and to eliminating the safe havens and the external support that has contributed to the Taliban’s resilience.He also talked with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah about how the Afghan government can better facilitate a reconciliation process in the interest of a stable Afghanistan.
Secretary Tillerson welcomed the Kabul compact, which details economic, political and security reforms proposed by the Afghan government.Externally, Afghanistan’s neighbors have a role to play in reintegrating the country into the region through trade, energy, and infrastructure.
With regard to Pakistan, Secretary Tillerson laid out some very specific expectations of how Pakistan can help create the conditions that will help bring the Taliban to the table. The United States would like to see a strategic commitment by the Pakistani government to root out all militant groups operating in Pakistan.
“All of this is about Pakistan’s sovereign choice,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells.Speaking during a recent briefing, she said, “This is not about America giving dictation. We’ve described our strategy, we’ve described a very important role for Pakistan, who we see as a very important country in the region,but it’s up to them whether or not they want to work with us on this strategy.”And if they don’t, the United States will “adjust accordingly.”
The United States looks forward to productive relations with both Afghanistan and Pakistan going forward.