Even as Pakistan has been growing closer to China in recent years with Beijing emerging as a powerful partner for Islamabad’s economic plans, its ties with the United States have been on the slide. There is fresh evidence of that in a letter, exclusively accessed by CNN-News18, from Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to his country’s ambassador in the US, Asad Majeed Khan.
In the correspondence, dated September 27, 2021, Qureshi says the embassy has been unable to establish meaningful contact between the two countries. He also points out that despite the key role played by Pakistan in Afghanistan, Washington has been indifferent towards Islamabad.
Qureshi tells the ambassador to ensure that “enough diplomatic steps are taken to guarantee the strategic relevance of Pakistan in all diplomatic forums”.
The development comes even as a group of US senators a week ago backed a Bill that seeks an inquiry into Pakistan’s role in the return of the Taliban, recommending sanctions for any entities that are found to have helped the group.
While several countries have reached out to the Taliban government, including the likes of China and Russia, Pakistan finds itself singled out in the Bill, termed the ‘Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act of 2021’, over its purported ties with the Islamist force.
The Pakistani establishment has repeatedly denied charges that it has provided material, logistical and intelligence support to the Taliban. However, the arrival in Kabul of the chief of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at a time when the Taliban were trying to put together a caretaker Afghan government was evidence of the clout Islamabad has with the group.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is slated to arrive in Pakistan on Thursday, following a visit to India, for talks connected to the fraying ties between the two countries over the Afghan issue.