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Pakistan source of ‘significant challenges’ in Afghanistan, says potential US envoy

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-09-2017 Lalit K. Jha

Washington: Pakistan has been a source of “significant challenges” in Afghanistan, enabling the Taliban to plan coordinated attacks in the war-torn country, US President Donald Trump’s nominee for the US ambassador to Afghanistan has said.

If confirmed by the Senate, John R. Bass said, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate foreign relations committee, that he will try to change the Pakistan government’s approach and try to find the best resolution to the problem. “Obviously, Pakistan has a key role to play (in Afghanistan). They’ve been, as we know, a source of some of the significant challenges in Afghanistan, in enabling the Taliban to rest and refit, plan coordinated attacks. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Bass said.

Responding to lawmakers’ questions on Wednesday, Bass said the US “will not succeed if we do not have the support and cooperation of” Pakistan, its neighbours and the wider circumference of significant countries in the wider region. “I think one of the things working in our favour as we pick our way through this complicated landscape is that generally speaking, everyone wants to see the same result in Afghanistan. It’s not in anyone’s interest for Afghanistan to remain a sinkhole of violence and a safe haven for extreme terrorism,” he said.

“So, the challenge we’ve got is to ensure that we’ve got a common approach among all of these countries, about how we achieve that result we all want to see,” Bass said. He said these countries have an enormous stake in the stability and relative security of Afghanistan.

“Ensuring that neighbours and this wider set of countries continue to support the Afghan government in its efforts, not simply to deal with violence and terrorism inside the country but to also build that government’s capacity so that if we do get to a political settlement, there’s a capable government that can negotiate with the Taliban and then perform the basic functions of government on the other side of that,” Bass said. PTI

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