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US should withdraw troops from Afghanistan responsibly, avoid past mistakes: FM Qureshi

WASHINGTON:     Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said the United States should withdraw troops from Afghanistan in a responsible manner and avoid repeating the mistakes from the past.
The remarks were made during an interview with American broadcaster Fox News. The statement from Qureshi also came after meetings with US officials, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Over the past week, the minister has been on a diplomatic outreach mission on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan following increased tensions between Iran and US. “Pakistan is asking [the US] for a responsible withdrawal unlike the eighties which created a vacuum for the destructive forces to take over,” he said.
Responding to a question about the Afghan peace process, Qureshi said that Pakistan facilitated a US dialogue with Taliban on the request of US President Donald Trump in a hope for peace and stability in the region.
“The Taliban are speaking to the US today and there is a possibility of an agreement,” he said, mentioning about Thursday’s announcement by Taliban of a ceasefire of seven to 10 before they could take next step leading to dialogue.
Asked to comment on the possible participation of PM Imran at a Shanghai Cooperation OrganiSation summit in India later this year, Qureshi said Pakistan had always said it would take steps toward peace. “The prime minister is very clear that if India takes one step, Pakistan will take two,” he said, adding that, “unfortunately India is showing a negative attitude, and resorting to repression in Kashmir”.

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