WASHINGTON: The most important step, the new Afghan government has taken in its short time in office is to improve relations with Pakistan, US Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted as saying here on Friday.
And Pakistan’s Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani also acknowledged this at a briefing, noting that relations between the two neighbours had shown a marked improvement in the last two and a half months.
“During their short time in office, they’ve taken steps to combat money laundering and corruption, improve the country’s fiscal situation, and foster better relations with their neighbours, including importantly – perhaps most importantly – Pakistan,” said Secretary Kerry.
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According to a transcript issued by his office in Washington, Secretary Kerry also said that an agreement Pakistan and Afghanistan signed with Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday would bring the much-needed electricity from Central to South Asia.
“Advancing this project to completion would make real the idea of a regional energy market connecting South and Central Asia,” he said.
Noting that this was a “region of unbelievable guts and grit and determination,” Secretary Kerry said: “There’s no question in my mind that the pride of the people of Afghanistan, the people of Pakistan, the people of India could have a very different future facing them.”
“I’m confident that … together we will write a very different history for South Central Asia,” he added.
Ambassador Jilani told a briefing that relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan were improvingly rapidly.
The US-Pakistan strategic partnership was also on the right trajectory, he added.
Speaking at the American University on US-Pakistan relations, he said the two countries were also working together to ensure security and stability in Afghanistan after 2014, when the Americans plan to pull most of their troops out of that country.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2014