US Senator John McCain has reiterated that Pakistan plays a prominent role in establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan. “We will not have peace in the region without Pakistan,” said McCain in a statement during his visit to Islamabad in the company of Senators Lindsey Graham, Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse and David Perdue.
McCain, who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, met with Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs, and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. “Our relationship is more important perhaps than ever before,” McCain said.
The US delegation visits Pakistan comes at a critical juncture as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is eagerly waiting for US policy on Afghanistan. Moreover, President Donald Trump is also considering sanctions on Pakistan because of the increasing number of attacks on Afghan soil by the Pakistan-based militants. Washington’s new war strategy in Afghanistan also includes the deployment of additional forces in the country which has been grappling with a rising Taliban insurgency.
Aziz said that the strategic partnership between Pakistan and the United States “was critical to achieve peace and stability in the region and beyond,”Tolo News reported. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that Pakistan remained committed to supporting efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“Aziz said that Pakistan remained committed to supporting efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Adviser noted that QCG process remains a credible and effective vehicle to facilitate reconciliation and restore peace, stability and economic prosperity in Afghanistan,” the statement reads. Senator McCain, who has been a major critic of Pakistan, has always criticized Islamabad’s role in the fight against the Taliban and its offshoot the Haqqani network.
Afghanistan has accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of supporting Haqqani network for orchestrating May’s deadly Kabul blast in which 100 people were killed and hundreds others were injured.