Richard Olson, US Ambassador to Pakistan, said on Wednesday that 2014 is not an exit year for the United States and that the US will not disengage from the region.
Ambassador Olson noted that, “The international community’s financial and political commitment, and the nearly $20 billion in pledges for security and development assistance that have already been made through 2024, stands out as a defining difference between 2014 and 1989. The United States, and nations across the globe, have unambiguously committed to Afghanistan’s future.”
“As President Obama and President Karzai agreed in Washington, Afghan-led peace and reconciliation is the surest way to end violence and ensure the lasting stability of Afghanistan and the region,” Ambassador Olson recalled. “The U.S. role is to help advance such a process, including by supporting an office in Qatar, where negotiations can take place between the Afghan High Peace Council and authorized representatives of the Taliban.” In order to facilitate a negotiated peace, Ambassador Olson called for the United States and Pakistan to work together with purpose, noting, “For the sake of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region, Pakistan’s full support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process is needed now.”
Ambassador Olson also reiterated the United States commitment to a cooperative and long-term partnership with Pakistan. “The U.S. relationship with Pakistan is not shaped solely by our commitments and responsibilities in Afghanistan. This partnership is far broader than any one issue, and centered on areas of mutual interest,” he said. “It is not dictated solely by the requirements of today, but rooted in the joint realization that the security and prosperity of our peoples is better served when we remain engaged, and cooperate.”
ions across the globe, have unambiguously committed to Afghanistan’s future.
For Pakistan, supporting progress toward peace in Afghanistan is not a matter of altruism, but is instead a critical sovereign interest.
"I need only cite your civilian and military leaders who have stated clearly and repeatedly that continued violence and increased instability in Afghanistan equates to increased instability and violence in Pakistan. We agree and are acutely aware of that nexus", he said.
Sustainable peace in Afghanistan is not only good for Afghanistan, but offers the promise of significant dividends for regional development. We are encouraged by the growing scope of engagement between Pakistan and Afghanistan and hope we can work together to advance a common vision for peace and prosperity in Pakistan and across the region.
He assured that the United States will remain committed to ensuring a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. And we will continue to view the U.S.-Pakistan partnership as one of critical and growing importance. We will also maintain cooperation with Pakistan in our joint efforts to counter extremism, combat terrorism, and protect both our peoples from the scourge of senseless violence.
There is much more to be said about all that we can do together. We have a chance to decide together how to capitalize on the opportunities before us, he added.