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Blinken Discusses Afghan Peace Process With Pakistan's Qureshi


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have discussed the Afghan peace process and the war on terror during a phone call.

U.S. President Joe Biden last month announced the withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, four months later than a May 1 deadline agreed to with the Taliban by the previous administration of Donald Trump. NATO has said it would follow the same timetable for withdrawing the more than 7,000 allied forces.

In their phone conversation, Blinken and Qureshi "highlighted the importance of continued cooperation on the Afghan peace process, Pakistan’s progress on countering terrorism, and the potential to expand our trade and commercial ties and to improve regional connectivity in South Asia," the U.S. State Department said in a statement late on May 16.

The impending exit of foreign forces from Afghanistan has prompted regional concern about the ability of the Afghan government's security forces to hold territory against the Taliban in the absence of a peace deal.

Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed with Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the regional security situation.

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