Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday stressed that the "strategic logic" behind working with the US against terrorism remains intact.

Speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, the foreign minister said that US and Pakistan had remained "long-standing friends". He added that both countries have much to gain by working together.

The minister said he was addressing a remark made by US President Donald Trump, as he announced his South Asia policy in August. Lambasting Pakistan for providing safe-havens to "agents of chaos", Trump had said that Pakistan has much to gain by working with US.

"A partnership anchored in mutual respect and pursuit of common interests and understanding of each other's concerns has served us in the past," the foreign minister said, adding that there arises a need among "friends to revitalise and refresh their friendship."

"Since 9/11 our cooperation against terrorism has helped consolidate mutual gains and has degraded Al Qaeda, which attacked us both," Asif added.

However, he added that "lately, there has been a tendency to place Pakistan's counter-terrorism credentials under focus."

"The truth is Pakistan is not just fighting but also winning against terrorism," Asif said. "We are fighting terrorism along and winning."

The foreign minister said that Pakistan had rendered sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and, suffering economic losses, had seen a decline in the number of terrorist incidents.

He added that as democratic institutions in the country thrive and the economy develops, "converting domestic security and economic gains into wider regional stability has remained a challenge for Pakistan due to the continued conflict in Afghanistan."

"For Pakistan, the timeline of managing the fall-out of Afghanistan's security has been 30 years," the minister said, adding that Islamabad believes that there lies a potential for a "broad-based and stand-alone bilateral relationship" with Kabul.

"For 40 years Pakistan has managed the blow-back of political instability and violence in Afghanistan," the minister said.

He noted that large areas inside Afghanistan have either fallen out of government's control or remain under contest. As a result, terrorists, escaping counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan have found safe havens in Afghanistan and plan attacks against Pakistan, he said.

"Pakistan calls the effective elimination of this safe haves in Afghanistan."

"Sadly, peace has alluded Afghanistan for decades. Pakistan can understand the despondency that such a long conflict can bring but pessimism is dangerous because it can take away hopes of peace," he added.

The minister urged greater cooperation between Washington and Islamabad and reiterated Pakistan's support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Asif's statement comes a day after he held a meeting with US Sec­retary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington on Wednesday.

After the meeting, Tillerson had said that he believed the United States had a reliable partner in Pakistan.

The top US diplomat had added that US-Pakistan relationship held extraordinary importance in the region. “And as we rolled out the South Asia strategy, we spoke about it in a regional context,” he said.

“It is not just about Afghanistan. This is about the importance of Pakistan, and Pakistan’s long-term stability as well,” said Tillerson, directly addressing Islamabad’s fear that Washington continued to view its relationship with Pakistan from the perspective of neighbouring Afgha­nistan, and in doing so, ignored Islamabad’s interests.

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