The United States on Tuesday hinted at reviving some of the counterterrorism initiatives of the post-9/11 era to assist Pakistan in tackling the renewed threat of terrorism posed by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other groups.
The development came after the two-day counterterrorism dialogue Pakistan hosted against the backdrop of a new wave of terrorism.
The two-day policy-focused meeting was chaired by the US Department of State Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Christopher Landberg and Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Additional Secretary for the UN and Economic Diplomacy, Syed Haider Shah.
A statement issued by the US Embassy said that the dialogue provided an opportunity to discuss the counterterrorism landscape in Pakistan and the broader region, with a focus on areas where the United States and Pakistan can better collaborate to counter regional and global threats, improve cooperation, prevent and counter violent extremism, and combat terrorism financing.
“Both governments resolved to increase dialogue on these topics and continue discussing paths to restart or introduce counterterrorism programmes to assist Pakistan’s efforts to counter all forms of violent extremism better,” the statement added.
The statement suggested that the US wants to maintain counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan despite withdrawing troops from neighbouring Afghanistan in August 2021.
There were concerns that the US might completely abandon Pakistan after exiting Afghanistan. Observers believe that the recent flurry of engagements suggests otherwise.
The US statement said the counterterrorism dialogue underscores the deepening cooperation between the United States and Pakistan in various areas.
“These partnerships are being advanced through high-level bilateral meetings like the recently concluded Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Council Ministerial in Washington, DC, and the upcoming Strategic Energy Dialogue and Climate and Environment Working Group meetings in Pakistan,” the statement noted.
“The counterterrorism dialogue is just one example of an ever-stronger bilateral relationship based on shared values and interests. It reaffirms the United States and Pakistan’s shared determination to contribute to regional and global security and stability,” according to the US readout.
A separate statement issued by the Foreign Office said that the two-day discussions covered various topics, including counterterrorism cooperation at multilateral forums, assessment of the regional counterterrorism landscape, cyber security and countering violent extremism.
The US assistance projects in Pakistan were discussed, focusing on capacity building in anti-money laundering and the justice sector. Both sides highlighted the importance of these projects in enhancing Pakistan’s capacity to counter terrorism.
US hints at reviving post-9/11 era anti-terror initiatives with Pakistan