The leaders of Pakistan and the United States said they’ll work together to try to end the war in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan was on his first visit to the White House.
President Donald Trump expressed his frustration over Washington’s longest war. CGTN’s Nathan King reported on how the meeting turned out.
The fact that the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan happened at all was remarkable considering the decades of deep distrust between Washington and Islamabad.
But a window of opportunity had opened as the Trump administration talked to the Taliban in a bid to end the war in Afghanistan.
Islamabad’s influence will be key and in the Oval Office both leaders expressed a desire to get a deal done. “We’re working with Pakistan and others to extricate ourselves,” Trump said.
“We hope that in the coming days we will be able to urge the Taliban to speak to the Afghan government and come to a settlement — a political solution,” Khan said.
The meeting was not without diplomatic difficulties. An offer by Trump to mediate between Pakistan and India over the disputed Kashmir region was rebuffed within minutes by New Delhi.
And, showing his frustration at the length of the war in Afghanistan, Trump also alluded to a war plan that could kill 10 million people.
But the meeting was about solving old differences not making new ones. A Twitter war between the two leaders last year resulted in the suspension of $300 million in military aid to Pakistan.
The presence of both the head of the Pakistani military and intelligence service underlined the importance Islamabad attaches to restoring security ties.
And while both nations have close relationships with one another’s rivals – Pakistan is close to China while the U.S. tries to grow closer to India – both had built confidence recently.
Washington labeled a separatist group in Baluchistan as terrorists and Islamabad arrested Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, suspected in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks in India which killed over 200 people.
Washington was also touting personal similarities between Imran Khan and Trump. Both are populists who became famous and wealthy before deciding to run for office.
This one meeting, of course, will not end the decades of distrust between Islamabad and Washington, but the fact they were talking about bringing peace to Afghanistan after nearly twenty years of conflict showed what can potentially happen if these two countries work together.