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General Bajwa, US defence secretary discuss Afghan troops withdrawal

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RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and US Secretary of Defence retired Gen Llyod Austin had a discussion over the phone on Wednesday on the drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

According to the military’s media wing, during the call, other matters of mutual interest and the regional security situation — including the latest developments in the Afghan peace process — were also discussed.

ISPR quoted Gen Bajwa as saying that “Pakistan will always support an Afghan-led, Afghan owned peace process based on mutual consensus of all stakeholders”.

“The US dignitary also acknowledged Pakistan’s continuous efforts for peace and stability in the region and pledged to further enhance bilateral relations between both the countries,” said the statement.

Secretary Austin spoke by phone with Gen Bajwa “to discuss regional stability and security”, according to a statement issued by the US Defence Department. 

“During the call, Secretary Austin reaffirmed the importance of the US– Pakistan bilateral relationship and expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s support for Afghanistan peace negotiations,” read the statement.

“Secretary Austin and General Bajwa also discussed the drawdown in Afghanistan,” it added.

According to the statement Secretary Austin and Gen Bajwa “discussed the importance of regional stability” and the desire for the United States and Pakistan “to continue working together on shared goals and objectives in the region”.

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