'Surprised’: Pakistan after Blinken says US 'reassessing ties with Islamabad'
Pakistan has said US secretary of state Anthony Blinken's recent comments that Washington would be reassessing its relationship with Islamabad were "not in line with the close cooperation" between the two countries, according to reports. In a weekly press briefing, Pakistan's foreign office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad termed Blinken's statement as "surprise," Pakistan's daily, Dawn reported. Ahmad also noted that Pakistan's positive role in the Afghan peace process and said that his country’s continued support for an inclusive political settlement had been "duly acknowledged", including by the US state department. He also highlighted Pakistan's role in the facilitation of the multinational evacuation effort from Afghanistan.
“We are going to be looking at in the days and weeks ahead, the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years, but also the role that we would want to see it playing in the coming years,” Ahmad was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
This comes after Blinken told the Congress that the US will be looking at ties with Pakistan in the coming weeks to formulate the role America wants Islamabad to play in the future of Afghanistan. Blinken also sent an assertive message to Pakistan telling it to "line up" with the broad majority of nations to force the Taliban regime to uphold the basic rights of Afghan people, including women and children. Blinken also alleged that Pakistan has "harboured" members of the Taliban including the terrorists from the proscribed Haqqani network.
Since the fall of Kabul last month, Pakistan has come under scrutiny and criticism over its alleged role in enabling the hardliner Taliban in Afghanistan. The group is designated as a terrorist group by the United States. Pakistan has had deep ties with the Taliban and other outfits in the region. The country is also accused of supporting the group and giving shelter to several wanted terrorists.
Pakistan's intelligence chief Faiz Hameed visited the Afghan capital while the insurgents' leaders were in the process of forming their government. During the visit, Hameed was briefed by his country's ambassador about the escalating situation in Kabul. According to reports, he also met with Taliban officials during the visit.
On September 7, hundreds of Afghan men and women held a demonstration against Pakistan and its alleged interference in Afghanistan's affairs. During the march, the protesters also shouted slogans like "Long live the resistance," and "Death to Pakistan."
According to reports, at least three rallies were also held across Kabul in a show of resistance against the Taliban, known for their brutal and radical justice system.