U.S. President Donald Trump, in a letter sent to the Pakistani prime minister on Monday, urged the country to assist the United States “in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Trump administration has intensified efforts to pressure the Taliban into joining peace negotiations with Kabul in recent months.
In the letter, Trump “recognizes that Pakistan has the ability to deny the Taliban sanctuary on its territory. The letter also makes clear that Pakistan’s assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring U.S.-Pakistan partnership,” an unnamed White House official told Reuters.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement announcing the letter, said that Trump is seeking Islamabad’s “assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war,” Dawn newspaper reported.
“President Trump has also acknowledged that the war had cost both USA and Pakistan,” the statement noted. “He has emphasized that Pakistan and USA should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership.”
The letter came days after Trump accused Pakistan of “doing nothing” to combat terrorist groups, namely the Afghan Taliban and its Haqqani Networks, which orchestrate attacks against U.S. troops from Pakistani soil.
President Trump has suspended hundreds of millions in financial aid to Pakistan over its refusal to take decisive action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
Pentagon officials have long accused Pakistan of holding sway over the Afghan Taliban and its allies. Most U.S. military fatalities of the Afghan war, primarily at the hands of the Afghan Taliban, have taken place in and around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The Trump administration has made “reconciliation” between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban the primary tenet of its strategy to end the war.
In the statement, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that Islamabad “welcomed” the U.S. decision for negotiations with the Taliban, noting that “Pakistan has always advocated a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan.”
“Pakistan reiterates its commitment to play a facilitation role in good faith,” the statement added. “Peace and stability in Afghanistan remain a shared responsibility.”
Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also confirmed the existence of Trump’s letter to Reuters, saying the president “has asked for Pakistan’s cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks.”
Chaudhry further indicated, “Trump told Khan the Pakistan relationship was very important to the United States and to finding a solution to the Afghanistan conflict.”