Pakistan, Afghanistan need to work together to effectively overcome Taliban challenge: US

ISLAMABAD: The White House on Friday said Pakistan and Afghanistan need to work together to effectively overcome the Taliban challenge in an allusion to the January 20 militant attack on a public sector university in Charsadda district.

“The conclusion that we’ve drawn here is…that the Taliban poses a security threat to both countries, and that the nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan are going to be able to more effectively confront that threat if they’re able to more effectively cooperate,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

On Wednesday, a splinter group of banned TTP stormed the Bacha Khan University in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and opened fire on students and teachers, killing 21 people.

Earnest said the US had long been supportive of the reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. He said the US was hoping to facilitate better cooperation between the two South Asian neighbours.

“Any sort of decisions about how the continuation of those talks and any sort of agreement that could be produced by those talks about whether or not that’s in the interest of those countries to pursue – those are decisions that will be made by the leaders in those two countries, as it should be,” he said.

On Thursday, US Vice President Joe Biden also held a trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Davos to discuss the recent reconciliation efforts. Biden had reaffirmed US support for reconciliation and improved bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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