IT seems after a series of anti-Pakistan tweets, American President Donald Trump has realized the folly of hurling threats on sovereign states and the need to conduct diplomacy through well-established and tried channels. His letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking cooperation of Pakistan in bringing Taliban on negotiating table is one such testimony.
Pakistan has welcomed the letter and expressed its willingness, as before, to offer full cooperation for a negotiated settlement of the longstanding conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan. Pakistan has long been urging the all parties to the conflict the need to resolve the problem through peaceful means but the United States expressed its preference for use of force. Washington has also been pressurizing Pakistan to increase pressure on Taliban despite the fact that the country was already doing what was humanely possible to check and counter the menace of terrorism. Pakistan has always played its part well on military front as well by eliminating organized presence of terror groups from its soil but at the same time it has been maintaining that durable peace was not possible in Afghanistan sans political solution. It is regrettable that the United States, instead of realizing the benefits of the Pakistani approach, adopted manipulative tactics like stoppage of military and economic assistance and withholding of reimbursements under coalition support fund. Pakistan deserves credit that despite intimidation, pressures and Washington’s efforts to give India a dominant role in Afghanistan, it did not lose patience and steadfastly pursued its policy of seeking a political settlement of the crisis. The letter of Mr. Trump is a clear acknowledgement on the part of the United States that forward movement in Afghanistan was not possible without cooperation of Pakistan. There is always a lull in fighting in Afghanistan during winter and hopefully all parties would take advantage of the situation and move sincerely towards wrapping of the conflict in a peaceful manner.