WASHINGTON: The US has ruled out mediation between Afghanistan and Pakistan and asked the two countries to work together to de-escalate the tension at the Torkham border crossing where deadly clashes this week killed two Afghan and one Pakistani border guard and wounded 20 on both the sides, according to a report of the First Post.
“We are obviously very concerned by the border clashes, particularly around the Torkham crossing. We want both the sides to ratchet down the violence and begin a dialogue to try to reduce the tension, keep the crossing open, and have it done peaceably,” the State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.
“Underlining that the US believes that the right approach is an Afghan-led reconciliation process,” he said and added, “We continue to support Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as he continues to try to get that process back on track. Now what effect the border clashes are having on reconciliation, I don’t know.”
“I haven’t seen any practical effect of it to date. These clashes have only just popped up in recent days. But that aside, we still want to see the reconciliation process move forward,” Kirby said as he ruled out the US jumping in as a mediator between the two countries.
“We have not taken a mediation role, and we have talked about this before. This is an Afghan-led process. We obviously support it and we want to see it succeed. We have expressed that support privately and publicly.”
“But this is President Ghani’s initiative; he’s taking it on. We know he wants to get it back on track and we fully support him in that effort, but this is not for the United States mediating between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.
The US, he said, wanted Afghanistan and Pakistan to work through these differences bilaterally, which they could do because they had done it in the past.
“This isn’t the first time that we have seen clashes even at that crossing, and they have been able to work through it in the past and we are absolutely confident that, with moral courage on both the sides, they can continue to work through it,” he said.