New Delhi: Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf said US President Joe Biden should call Prime Minister Imran Khan if the US thinks Pakistan is playing a “make-or-break” role in Afghanistan.
“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 said in an interview to Financial Times Tuesday.
The NSA further noted that Islamabad also has “options” if the Biden administration believes that a phone call is a “concession”.
“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 … If a phone call is a concession, if a security relationship is a concession, Pakistan has options,” said Yusuf, who is on a visit to the US that began on 27 July.
Meanwhile, a State Department official said that Biden is yet to call many other world leaders and that he “looks forward to speaking with Prime Minister Khan when the time is right”.
Moeed Yusuf met Jake Sullivan on US visit
On his visit to the US, the Pakistan NSA also met his American counterpart Jake Sullivan and they vowed to “sustain the momentum in Pakistan-US bilateral cooperation”.
Had a positive follow-up meeting with NSA @JakeSullivan46 today in Washington. Took stock of progress made since our Geneva meeting & discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. Agreed to sustain the momentum in Pak-US bilateral cooperation.
— Moeed W. Yusuf (@YusufMoeed) July 30, 2021
According to FT, a person aware of the developments at the meeting of the two NSAs said that Sullivan had a “tough” discussion with Yusuf regarding Afghanistan where the security situation is fast deteriorating due to the Taliban’s increasing violence there.
“There is a lot of effort under way to try to get that [negotiated settlement] process to be a more meaningful process,” the person told FT.
Earlier this week, State Department spokesperson Ned Price had also said that Pakistan will continue to have a critical role in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has much to gain and will continue to have a critical role, will be well-positioned to have a role in supporting the outcome that not only the United States seeks, but that many of our International partners, many of the countries in the region also seeks. So, we’ll continue to work and to communicate closely with our Pakistani partners on this,” said Price.
He also noted that the Pakistan NSA did not meet US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.
Yusuf had met Sullivan earlier this May and had given a “blueprint” of sorts to the Biden administration seeking elevation in bilateral ties between them.
(Edited by Rachel John)