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Letter to PM: Trump 'acknowledges Afghan war cost both USA, Pakistan'

Updated December 03, 2018

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that US President Donald Trump sent him a letter earlier today seeking Islamabad's assistance in the Afghan peace process. ─ AFP/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that US President Donald Trump sent him a letter earlier today seeking Islamabad's assistance in the Afghan peace process. ─ AFP/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday received a letter from US President Donald Trump seeking Islamabad's "assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war", said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

"President Trump has also acknowledged that the war had cost both USA and Pakistan," the statement added. "He has emphasised that Pakistan and USA should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership."

The ministry "welcomed" the US decision for negotiations, noting that "Pakistan has always advocated a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan".

"Pakistan reiterates its commitment to play a facilitation role in good faith," the statement reads. "Peace and stability in Afghanistan remains a shared responsibility."

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also confirmed Trump's letter to Reuters, saying: "President Trump has written a letter. He has asked for Pakistan's cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks."

Trump's letter was first talked about by the prime minister in a meeting with journalists earlier in the day.

In the letter, the PM said, Trump has asked Pakistan to play its role in the peace talks which seek to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

This is the first direct communication between the two leaders since Imran Khan assumed power in August.

Trump has been consistent in his criticism of Pakistan since he launched his South Asia and Afghanistan strategy despite multiple attempts made by the two governments to fix the problems in their ties.

Last month, a row that began with Trump's interview to Fox News led to a series of tweets by both the US head of state and PM Khan.

President Trump, while talking about the reasons for ending the over a billion dollar annual aid for Pakistan at the beginning of the year, said the country didn’t do “a damn thing for us”.

Prime Minister Khan had led the sharp reaction by political leaders to Trump’s tirade against Pakistan by hinting at review of foreign policy options and asking the US president to introspect on the real reasons for America’s failure in Afghanistan.

'Not a googly,' says PM

The prime minister, according to Geo News, also said that the "Kartarpur initiative was not a googly; it was a sincere effort".

The "googly" remark was made by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who last week had said that Prime Minister Khan had bowled India a “googly” by taking the initiative of opening the Kartarpur border connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district.

Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj got involved in a ‘war of tweets’ on Sunday, accusing each other of using the occasion for political gains, after the Indian minister for external affairs showed her displeasure over the "googly" remarks.

Swaraj through her official Twitter account alleged that Qureshi’s remarks had exposed that Pakistan had no respect for the Sikh sentiments and was doing it all for politics. “Mr Foreign Minister of Pakistan — your ‘googly’ remarks in a dramatic manner has exposed none but you. This shows that you have no respect for Sikh sentiments. You only play ‘googlies’,” she tweeted.

Using the same social networking platform, Qureshi termed Swaraj’s comments a “deliberate attempt” to “mislead” the Sikh community. He said that Pakistan had taken this initiative in “good faith”.