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Washington: Secretary of State John Kerry has praised the efforts of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif in improving ties with war-torn Afghanistan, saying the US is “grateful” for the premier’s commitment in this regard.
“In the transition taking place in Afghanistan, we are witnessing an unprecedented level of effort to try to produce cooperation. And thus far, there are some signs of real results with respect to that,” Kerry said in a joint media appearance with visiting Pakistan Interior Minister Nishar Ali Khan yesterday.
“We are grateful for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s commitment to this, for General Raheel’s efforts. They’ve been real. The two Pakistani leaders are committed to going after terrorists, all forms of extremism in Pakistan,” he said.
“And they are making good on that in their initiatives in the western part of the country and elsewhere, and in their cooperation on counterterrorism. They are committed to the evolution of their own democracy, to the strengthening of it, and to trying to be a partner in the region for peace and stability of the region,” Kerry said.
“So we have a lot of challenges. A lot has happened in the last year that has emboldened some of the extremists. It’s something that Pakistan is deeply concerned about. We’ve had long conversations about it. I look forward to continuing the cooperative effort on the economy as well as the cooperative effort in counterterrorism and democracy building,” he said.
Khan said there are a number of positive developments which have taken place over the last few weeks and few months which point to a very positive outlook for US-Pakistan relationship and for their joint fight against extremism.
“Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been better, and that is a very, very positive development. I think Afghanistan and Pakistan are working in close hands and in close cooperation, it will do wonders for the cooperation in the field of counterterrorism,” Khan said.
He said relations between Pakistan and the United States have always been good, but there have been ups and downs.
“But over the last few months, and I think due to the efforts of Secretary Kerry and the administration, there has been a huge quantum leap in the level of confidence, in the level of trust, and in the level of cooperation,” he said.
“I think what happened a year, or a year and a half ago after the Salala incident, and then subsequently the reaction which led to blockade of the Afghan transit supply routes, I think that’s a far cry now, and both the US and Pakistan are working very, very closely,” Khan said.
“I think that forebodes very positively for a close cooperation not only in the area of counterterrorism, but also in the economy and in bringing about sanity and peace in the region,” Khan added.