Pakistan, US agree to engage with Afghan Taliban govt

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and the United States yesterday agree to engage with the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held telephonic talks and pledged to enhance cooperation. They also discussed the need for continuous engagement with Taliban regime in Afghanistan to deal with humanitarian crisis, the Pakistani foreign ministry said. The two sides reiterated the commitment to further deepen their bilateral ties, and agreed on mutual cooperation in the fields of energy, health, security and economic development, marking 75 years of their bilateral relationship. During the conversation, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Pakistan looked forward to frequent exchange of high-level visits. He urged for easing the issuance of visas to Pakistani nationals.

Appreciating the ongoing visit of US Special Representative Dilawar Syed, the foreign minister stressed on solidifying Pakistan-US trade and commercial ties.

Earlier in the day, United States Ambassador Donald Blome called on Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar. The state minister congratulated the ambassador on his appointment and assuming duties in Pakistan.

According to the Foreign Office, Khar reiterated commitment to widen and deepen longstanding Pakistan-US ties. She reaffirmed engagement in trade, investment, energy and health.

Bilawal, Blinken hold telephonic talks : US envoy meets Khar in Islamabad

She also underlined importance of people-to-people and congressional engagement.

Pakistan-US ties have started to normalise after a long period filled with misunderstandings and disagreements.

This month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also met US Ambassador Donald Blome and underscored Pakistan’s desire to further develop relations with the United States on the basis of mutual respect, trust, and interest. He said Pakistan has huge economic and demographic potential and US companies should invest in the country. PM Shehbaz Sharif also stressed on holding the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)   ministerial meeting   and the business opportunities conference this year. Recalling the depth and breadth of Pakistan-US relationship, the prime minister underscored that various bilateral dialogues have been playing a critical role in strengthening   ties in the areas of trade, investment, IT, climate change, health, and energy.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the United States. The prime minister hoped that both countries would celebrate this historic occasion in a befitting manner which would further deepen bilateral ties.

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