Include Pakistan’s input in Afghan policy, US urged


Islamabad : Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Friday urged the US to fully share the contours of its road map on Afghanistan and incorporate Islamabad’s input in it.

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He made the remarks while speaking to US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Leon E. Panetta, who was on a two-day unscheduled visit here that concluded Friday.

Gilani stressed that Washington’s policy towards Afghanistan must take into account Pakistan’s concerns relating to the possible surge of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan as this may entail negative implications for the situation in Balochistan, Online news agency reported.

He also stressed that the Afghan policy should not disturb the regional balance in South Asia.

The prime minister said that it was imperative to remove misgivings, build trust and seek to align the respective strategic concepts of Pakistan and the US to steadfastly move forward in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Gilani also underlined the need for close coordination between the intelligence agencies of both sides to effectively counter the prevalent misconceptions in the relationship.

On his part, Panetta assured Gilani that the US was fully conscious of Pakistan’s pivotal role in the war against terrorism and in the restoration of stability in Afghanistan.

The US considered Pakistan a strategic partner with whom it wanted to build a longterm and sustained relationship even beyond the cooperation in countering militancy and extremism, the CIA director said.

He also agreed with the prime minister that operational functioning between the two militaries and intelligence agencies was the need of the hour for eliminating terrorism.