US Senator Chris Van Hollen thanks Pakistan, others for supporting Afghanistan evacuations

Published August 31, 2021
This file photo shows US Senator Chris van Hollen. — Photo courtesy: Hollen's website
This file photo shows US Senator Chris van Hollen. — Photo courtesy: Hollen's website

US Senator Chris Van Hollen on Tuesday thanked Pakistan among other countries for helping evacuate American nationals and others stranded in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country.

“Even as the last US troops leave Afghanistan I'll continue to do everything in my power to bring home all Americans and provide asylum to our Afghan partners endangered by their support to the US…,” Hollen, a Karachi-born Democrat from Maryland, said in a tweet.

He continued: “Also thankful to Qatar, UAE, Pakistan, Kuwait and many others supporting evacuation efforts.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan, said in a tweet that he had a telephonic conversation with Hollen.

Majeed said he briefed the US Senator on "Pakistan’s support for evacuations of US, Afghan and other nationals from Afghanistan".

“[I] shared Pakistan’s perspective on the urgency of securing an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan,” he added.

Last week, US Senator Lindsey Graham had also appreciated Pakistan for helping with the evacuation efforts in the war-torn country, and emphasised that Pakistan must be made part of a “sustainable solution” to the conflict in Afghanistan.

“Any sustainable solution in Afghanistan must include Pakistan,” the US senator had said on Twitter, calling the region “very complicated” and the current period “dangerous”.

“We all must remember Pakistan is a nuclear-armed nation,” he had said, adding that “there is a Pakistan version of the Taliban who wishes (to) topple the Pakistani government and military.”

“[I] very much appreciate the efforts of the Pakistani government to assist with the evacuation of US citizens, our allies, and other nations,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

A few days ago, the US had reached out to Pakistan and half a dozen other countries it believes can influence the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban appear to be consolidating their hold after capturing Kabul.

The foreign ministers of Pakistan, China, Russia, India and Turkey and the foreign secretary of Britain were among the top diplomats' US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with on Aug 16, his office had announced in a statement.

Later, Blinken had called his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi to discuss Afghanistan and the developing situation there.

According to Radio Pakistan, Qureshi had assured Blinken during their telephonic conversation that Pakistan would remain closely engaged with the US and other international partners in "promoting efforts for supporting a peaceful and stable Afghanistan".

The foreign minister had stressed the importance of an "inclusive political settlement as the best way forward" in Afghanistan and the need for the US to continue economic engagement with Afghanistan.

National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf had on Aug 26 also underlined that the United States and Pakistan had a shared interest in working together in Afghanistan.

“I’m not asking for any sympathy for Pakistan,” the NSA said. “I’m thinking in terms of pure US selfish national interests. How does it help to push away a country of this size, stature and power,” he wondered.

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