With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani due to visit Islamabad this weekend, the US Ambassador to Pakistan on Wednesday said the neighbouring countries had a historic chance to reset their long-fraught ties.
Richard Olson praised confidence building measures by both sides, including Operation Zarb-i-Azb by the Pakistani military in Waziristan tribal region near the Afghanistan border.
“I think there is quite genuinely a basis for a new relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both sides are aware of this historical moment and making efforts to seize it,” Oslon said in a speech at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad.
Former president Hamid Karzai’s government routinely accused Pakistan of continuing to aid the Taliban to destabilise his country, a charge Islamabad denies.
In an interview with AFP in April, the new president, Ghani said rapprochement with Pakistan — along the lines of France and Germany after World War II — would be key to ending instability in his conflict-torn nation.
Ghani was sworn into office in September while his main rival Abdullah Abdullah became the country’s CEO, ending a protracted election process marred by fraud allegations.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif won power in last year’s general elections that marked the country’s first ever democratic transition, but has since seen his mandate challenged by opposition groups who allege vote rigging.
“We’re supporters of the rule of law, democracy and the constitution and oppose any kind of extra-constitutional action,” the US envoy said, who praised Pakistan’s recent “restraint” and its efforts to secure the border during the Afghan elections.