Byline: SHAFQAT ALI
ISLAMABAD -- The United States yesterday credited Pakistan for imminent peace deal between the US and the Afghan Taliban as Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met his American counterpart Mike Pompeo in Washington.
An official statement released here by the foreign ministry said Pompeo appreciated Pakistan's efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
The meeting came a day after FM Qureshi announced that the Afghan Taliban were willing to shun violence. 'This is a step toward peace agreement in Afghanistan,' he added - indicating a major diplomatic victory for Pakistan.
Recently, the US and Taliban officials had announced a resumption of official negotiations for the first time since President Donald Trump abruptly halted talks three months ago to end the 18-year war. Last month, Pakistan and the US had shown satisfaction with the recent talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban in Doha, Qatar.
Prior to meeting with Pompeo, Foreign Minister Qureshi urged the US for a 'responsible' withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and not to repeat the 'mistake' of 1980s' pull out by the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
'Pakistan is asking (Washington) for a responsible withdrawal unlike 80s which created a vacuum for the destructive forces to take over,' he said in an interview with Fox News.
He mentioned that Pakistan facilitated a dialogue with Taliban on the request of President Trump 'in a hope for peace and stability'.
He expressed the hope of an agreement between the US and the Afghan Taliban. 'The Taliban are today talking to US and there is a possibility of an agreement,' he said, adding the announcement by Taliban of a ceasefire of 7-10 days was a positive step.
The FM said that Pakistan will continue its efforts for political solution to lingering Afghan conflict. He underlined the need of strengthening bilateral trade and investment to materialize joint vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump.
The US Secretary lauded Pakistan's 'sincere and utmost' efforts for political solution of Afghan conflict, said the statement.
Qureshi also briefed Pompeo about his visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia where he held talks last week to defuse tension in the Middle East. He said Pakistan was committed to playing its due role in de-escalating prevailing tensions and promoting peace in the Middle Eastern region.
'The two leaders exchanged views on matters pertaining to Pak-US bilateral cooperation, regional...