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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

World

US, Pak and Afghan ties a Gordian knot: McKeon
PTI
Washington, February 25, 2014
First Published: 11:00 IST(25/2/2014)
Last Updated: 11:27 IST(25/2/2014)

"One of the tougher nuts to crack has been Pakistan. It's no secret that the Pakistanis and the Taliban have some shared history. There's no need for rose-coloured glasses here.

Relations between the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan are a Gordian knot," Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon told reporters at the National Press Club.

The lawmaker said that stability in both Pakistan and Afghanistan was "symbiotic" and that the relationship between the two countries are "thawing".

"Yet we're finally starting to shake some progress loose.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have both acknowledged that stability in both their countries is symbiotic. Problems in one means problems in the other," McKeon said.

"Relations between the two countries are thawing. That started with President Karzai's visit with Prime Minister Sharif last September. Official state visits are well and good, but what I'm really watching is the military-to-military relations," he said.

The Congressman added that the three sides had a long way to go, but "these baby steps have paved the way for giant leaps down the road."

"Pakistan and Afghanistan have gotten the ball rolling there. The relationship has improved, but slowly. I was happy to see the three-way talks between senior ISAF, Pakistani and Afghan leaders, and just as happy to see the same meetings held at lower levels," he said.

"With that progress in mind, we have a real problem heading our way with the bilateral security agreement. That agreement is the legal framework we need to continue the mission there until the mission is finished," he said.


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