US asks Pakistan to seize opportunity to stabilise Afghanistan

Islamabad: The US today asked Pakistan to seize the opportunity to stabilise war-torn Afghanistan saying an increasingly stable Afghan nation that is at peace and enjoys productive relations with its neighbours will be an effective counter-weight against extremism.

A strong relationship between the US and Pakistan is essential to support the regional stability and "one of the critical ingredient to achieve this is by creating a peaceful and stable future for Afghanistan", the US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G Olson said.

The US Ambassador was addressing a group discussion at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
"An increasingly stable Afghanistan that is at peace and enjoys productive relations with its neighbours will be an effective counter-weight against extremism. A stable Afghanistan is also conducive to economic development in South and Central Asia," he said.

"A strong relationship between our two countries (US and Pakistan) is of great importance to regional stability and to achieving a more prosperous future for our citizens," he added.

He said that "one of the most critical ingredients for achieving regional stability and prosperity is creating a peaceful and stable future for Afghanistan."

Olson also highlighted the moment that the "United States and Pakistan have to set future events on a positive course and seize the opportunity for a brighter future in Afghanistan".

The Ambassador encouraged Pakistan to continue its efforts to strengthen relations with Afghanistan, adding "there is much work to be done together on important issues such as security, trade and economic ties, reconstruction and rehabilitation and regional cooperation."

He reaffirmed the enduring US commitment to Pakistan and the region, saying "The United States will remain engaged, we see our role in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region as one of a sustained commitment that is in our own national security interest as well as that of the countries of the region."

Olson spoke about the results of the Declaration of Enduring Partnership signed between Afghanistan and NATO in 2010 to provide long-term security, economic, and political support to Afghanistan and the importance of regional efforts to its continued success.

He also asked the students at NUST to play a role in leading Pakistan to a more stable and secure future.

"You have an opportunity now to choose a better future, and put aside the differences of the past. Pakistan is a young society, and so is Afghanistan. Young people in both countries can make the choice now to set the course for a positive and constructive direction," he said.

"I hope you will seize that opportunity. And rest assured that the United States is committed to supporting you in your critical role to help Afghanistan through this period of transition," he added.