US must be involved in Afghanistan after troops leave: Qureshi

Shah Mehmood Qureshi. (File Photo: IANS)

Washington/Islamabad, Jan 17 (IANS) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that US must remain engaged in Afghanistan’s reconstruction even if it succeeds in withdrawing troops and ending its longest war, it was reported on Friday.

Qureshi is currently in Washington on the third leg of his mission to defuse tensions in the Middle East, having already visited Tehran and Riyadh as part of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts, reports Dawn news.

Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Qureshi said on Thursday: “Peace in Afghanistan is ultimately a shared responsibility and Pakistan, alone cannot do all that is needed”.

He warned the US not to neglect Afghanistan, as was seen after 1989 when Soviet troops pulled out under pressure from guerrillas fighters backed by Washington and Islamabad.

“Do not repeat the ’80s,” he said, adding: “Even if there is a successful agreement, challenges will remain there, so the United States and its friends and coalition partners will have to have a more responsible withdrawal.

“They should remain engaged – not to fight, but to rebuild.”

Qureshi said he has seen a willingness from the Taliban to reduce the violence.

“They are pragmatic and not foolish. They are also fatigued,” he said.

The Foreign Minister is set to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday.

Qureshi also held meetings with a host of US lawmakers from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

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