Conditions in Afghanistan become the main topic in the meeting between the US and Pakistan

The development of the situation in Afghanistan, now controlled by the Taliban, will dominate discussions at a meeting between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and senior Pakistani officials during the American diplomat’s trip to Islamabad this week.

Sherman, who arrived in Islamabad Thursday (7/10) afternoon, is the most senior US diplomat to visit the South Asian country since Joe Biden took office as president.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar said the meeting would discuss “issues of mutual interest, including bilateral relations and the situation in the region”.

“We hope to re-strengthen the balanced relationship between America and Pakistan, in mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields, including security, trade, investment, energy and regional connectivity,” Iftikhar said at a weekly press conference.

Relations between Pakistan and America, which have generally been poor, have come under pressure again after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan on August 15. Tensions are rooted in long-standing allegations that Pakistan has close ties and tacit support for the Taliban, as the insurgent group has been battling the US-backed Afghan government for nearly 20 years. Pakistan itself has denied the allegations.

Late last month 22 Republican senators introduced a bill to impose tougher sanctions on the Taliban and all foreign governments that support the hardline group.

The bill also seeks official input from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his review of the role Pakistan has played in supporting the return of the Taliban to power in Kabul. (jm / em / lt)

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