COAS, CIA chief discuss regional security, situation in Afghanistan

Published September 9, 2021
This photo shows CIA Director William Burns with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.  — Photo provided by author
This photo shows CIA Director William Burns with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. — Photo provided by author

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, according to a statement issued on Thursday by the military's media affairs wing.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, the regional security situation and the current situation in Afghanistan were discussed, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

"It was reiterated that Pakistan remains committed to cooperating with its international partners for peace in the region and ensuring a stable and prosperous future for Afghan people," the statement said.

The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan's role in the Afghan crisis, including successful evacuation operations, and efforts for regional stability. He also pledged to play a role for further improvement in diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels, it added.

This is not the first time the CIA chief has visited Pakistan.

According to the New York Times, Burns had earlier travelled to Pakistan for meetings with the COAS and ISI director to explore the possibility of counterterrorism cooperation between the two sides.

However, at the time government officials had suggested that he was firmly told that Pakistan would not host the spy agency’s drone bases on its territory.

Meanwhile, the US State Department has urged Pakistan to play a critical role in bringing an inclusive government in Kabul.

“We have been in regular touch with the Pakistani leadership and have discussed Afghanistan in detail,” a State Department spokesperson told Dawn on Tuesday when asked to comment on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has frequently and publicly advocated for an inclusive government with broad support in Afghanistan and we look to Pakistan to play a critical role in enabling that outcome,” the official added.

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