The United States is sending its Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Marc Grossman, to Islamabad in a bid to resolve the dispute on the Haqqani network.
Grossman will travel to Abu Dhabi, Ankara, Dushanbe, Bishkek, Astana, Kabul, Beijing, Tashkent, Ashgabat, New Delhi, Islamabad, and Doha from September 30 to October 14, 2011.
“The Secretary has spoken to this issue as well every day this week that we continue to believe that job one between the US and Pakistan on the counterterrorism front is to tackle the Haqqani Network,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said during a regular press briefing.
“We continue to make outreaches at all levels to our Pakistani counterparts. Ambassador Grossman will be travelling to the region… He’ll be in Kabul, he’ll be in Islamabad, he’ll be in some of the neighbouring countries, so this is a chance to continue that work,” she added.
When asked whether there was a deadlock between the US and Pakistan on the Haqqani issue, given the differing opinions on both sides, Nuland pointed out that both nations continue to have candid conversations in this regard.
“I think what’s important in this case is that we continue to have very clear and candid conversations among all of the principals with their Pakistani interlocutors. As I said, Ambassador Grossman is on his way to the region to continue those conversations. So the dialogue continues. We’ve got to find a way to work on this together,” she said.
She also confirmed that during his trip to the region, Grossman also ‘looks forward to talking to both Afghans and Pakistanis’ about Kabul’s concerns about tripartite talks.
According to a recent media report, Afghanistan has decided to cancel the October 8 meeting among senior US, Pakistani and Afghan officials to discuss ways to get the Taliban into peace talks and end the 10-year-old conflict.
“Ambassador Grossman wants to talk about this directly with the Afghans and he will on this trip,” Nuland said.
“Obviously, we believe that this tripartite dialogue – US, Afghanistan, Pakistan – has been useful. That it has helped us together solve some problems. So obviously, he’ll be talking to folks both in Kabul and in Islamabad about the value of it to see where we go. But we continue to think it’s an important structure,” she added.