US rules out abrupt disengagement from Afghanistan
US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson said: “Taliban should not keep away from talks, hoping that the US is going to abandon Afghanistan.”
The militant outfit should not suspect the genuineness of America’s support for the Afghan-led peace talks that the US continued to support, he told an audience at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think-tank..
Washington expected the Quadrilateral Coordination Group -- involving China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US -- to use their leverage to drive the Taliban to the negotiating table, the diplomat said.
India and Iran, two regional countries having stakes in a stable Afghanistan, might be included in the peace push at a later stage, the ambassador indicated, according to reports in the Indian media.
“India has been a supportive partner. Pakistan has concerns about Indian involvement, but Pakistan hugely exaggerates the Indian influence in Afghanistan,” Olson was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Pakistan would not have a "bright future" unless it took action against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, said Olson, a former US ambassador to Pakistan.
However, he commended Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations in the tribal region of Waziristan, near the Afghanistan border. Olson believed the offensive had led to a decline in violence in the South Asian country.
The US would remain careful about troop reductions in Afghanistan, Olson suggested, next month’s NATO summit in Warsaw would reaffirm the alliance’s commitment to stabilise the country.
The US would be committing three billion dollars annually until 2020 for the security and reconstruction of Afghanistan, he said. "This is an investment in our own security." An abrupt disengagement was not an option, he concluded.
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