US tries to safeguard Afghan peace push from India-Pakistan crisis

Reuters Washington, DC, USA Mar 04, 2019, 01.25 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Senior US officials told that as the United States spoke with senior Pakistani officials, emphasizing the need to lower the risk of conflict with India, Islamabad privately offered warnings on Afghanistan.

The United States is trying to prevent simmering tensions between India and Pakistan from impacting a third country: Afghanistan, where a fragile peace push is underway to try to end more than 17 years of war with Taliban insurgents.

US President Donald Trump's administration has been publicly focused on lowering tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals since a Feb. 14 suicide car bomb in an Indian-controlled area of Kashmir triggered the first Indian air strikes inside of Pakistan since a 1971 war.

Senior US officials told that as the United States spoke with senior Pakistani officials, emphasizing the need to lower the risk of conflict with India, Islamabad privately offered warnings on Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials said their ability to support Afghan peace talks could be in jeopardy in the event of a full-blown crisis, US officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"They'll stop being a facilitator, they will stop the pressure they are applying" on the Taliban, one US official said, recounting Pakistani warnings conveyed to Washington.

Pakistan has publicly denied any role in the suicide bombing. But the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group claimed responsibility for it, and India has long accused Islamabad of supporting them.

The United States has likewise accused Pakistan of ties to Taliban militants who are fighting in neighbouring Afghanistan against American and US-backed Afghan government forces.