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Pakistan offered FTA in return for helping US in Afghanistan

Pakistan offered FTA in return for helping US in Afghanistan

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Jan 24, 2019 - 14:37

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): During his recent visit to Islamabad, an influential US lawmaker is believed to have discussed with Pakistani leaders a proposal for a free trade agreement (FTA) in return for assistance in ending the Afghan war.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who visited Islamabad this week, told a news briefing at the US embassy that he would ask President Donald Trump to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Following a visit to Afghanistaninfo-icon, Graham had said, “If we can go to Pakistaninfo-icon and put a free trade agreement on the table to get the Pakistanis to push the Talibaninfo-icon to the peace table, and you can end the Afghan war.”

A Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Graham has indicated people in the White House also desired to explore both possibilities -- the FTA proposal and Trump’s meeting with Khan and Ghani.

Dawn quoted US-based diplomatic sources as saying that the proposals could be implemented only if Washing­ton was satisfied with Islamabad’s efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the Afghan war.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Ghani’s adviser Mohammad Umer Daudzai recently commended Pakistan’s help in arranging US-Taliban peace talks in Qatar and the UAE.

During his recent trip to Islamabad, Daudzai noticed that “Pakistan’s civilian government and security institutions are on the same page” on the need to push for peace in Afghanistan.

Senator Graham, a strong supporter of the US military presence in Afghanistan, has endorsed Imran Khan’s position on the need for reconciling with the Taliban.

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