US says new Afghan ‘strategy’ includes ‘reconciliation with Taliban’
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The US is working on a new approach with India and Pakistan for promoting stability and reconciliation in Afghanistan, the State Department has said.

“Our approach to South Asia and specifically Afghanistan means new approaches with India and Pakistan to deny safe havens to terrorist organisations,” State Department Inspector General Steve A. Linick said.

The main purpose behind this new approach was to “create the conditions for reconciliation with the Taliban and a process that supports the Afghan government in providing security for their own people”, Linick added.

The State Department’s annual report on its financial priorities for the new fiscal year highlighted this as a key ingredient of Washington’s strategy for South Asia that President Donald Trump announced on August 21.

The report identified the most serious management and performance challenges facing the State Department and assessed the Department’s progress in addressing those challenges, Dawn online reported.

This year’s report detailed ongoing difficulties in monitoring and overseeing the anti-terrorism assistance programme in Pakistan.

The report pointed out that the State Department has no staff in Pakistan for verifying satisfactory contractor performance or monitoring whether required reports were submitted.

Furthermore, the bureau had not adopted a meaningful way to measure progress towards programme goals.

The report noted that difficulties in obtaining Pakistani visa was a contributing factor in the State Department’s flawed oversight and monitoring of the anti-terrorism assistance programme there.

It also underlined the measures the State Department could take to improve oversight, including developing and implementing procedures to verify compliance with contract reporting requirements.

The report also identified ways the State Department’s own practices contributed to problems, notwithstanding the fact that oversight personnel could not be located in Pakistan.

It also noted that the US mission’s security policies restricting staff travel in the country made it difficult to meet Pakistani contacts and audiences, impeding operations or programme implementation.

 

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