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Pakistan Foreign Office Responded to the US Senate Bill


Islamabad, 1 October 2021 (TDI): On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted to the draft bill introduced in the US Senate, seeking to sanction Pakistan alongside the Afghan Taliban. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar rejected the bill’s references to the country, inferring them “completely unwarranted.”

The reaction from Pakistan’s Foreign Office came a day after twenty-two US senators from the Republican Party moved a draft bill in the Senate, seeking to sanction the Taliban besides demanding an assessment over Pakistan’s alleged role in supporting the insurgent group since 2001. The bill named ‘‘Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act 2021” constitutes several references to Islamabad, particularly suggesting an in-depth assessment of the Afghan Taliban’s (state and non-state) supporters since 2001, including Pakistan’s government.

The proposed legislation also requires an assessment of the Afghan Taliban supporters, including Pakistan, for the Taliban’s September 2021 offensive in the Panjshir Valley. Responding to the draft bill, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad termed these references ‘unwarranted’ and ‘inconsistent in spirit’ with the Pak-US coordination on Afghanistan since 2001. He reiterated that Pakistan has always advocated for a peaceful solution to Afghanistan’s conflict, besides facilitating the safe transit of US citizens and other nationals from Kabul in August. He further noted that the only way to achieve sustainable peace in Afghanistan is through dialogue rather than a coercive approach.

Speaking about the regional security cooperation between Pakistan and the United States to deal with any future terrorist threat, Asim Iftikhar maintained that such legislation would be considered uncalled for and ‘counterproductive’ in the way of cooperation. On a similar occasion, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid also rejected the US Senate draft bill on Wednesday, stressing that Pakistan has never facilitated the Afghan Taliban in military terms, rather it only facilitated them to engage in dialogue upon the request of Americans; He also assured that Pakistan will keep standing with the people of Afghanistan amid the crises.



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