ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan has refused to give its military bases to the United States amid the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Talking to a private television channel, Qureshi said Pakistan wants a stable Afghanistan, but there are some elements who do not want peace in the region.
“We want to see the peace process going forward along with the withdrawal of troops. The world does not consider Pakistan part of the problem.”
The foreign minister categorically stated that Pakistan has refused to give military bases to the US and added that he has told all the political parties in a briefing that they have no such intention. “Search for bases could be their wish. There’s no question of giving them bases as we have to see our interest.”
Meanwhile, a US Defence Department spokesperson said on Monday the United States is pursuing basing options with Afghanistan’s neighbours after US troops withdraw from that country but there is nothing to announce at present.
US media reported on Sunday that Biden administration officials are in discussions with Pakistani officials to secure bases close to Afghanistan for future operations. The CIA had used a base in Pakistan to execute drone strikes against militants but was expelled from the facility in 2011 as bilateral relations soured.
“While we have no basing agreements to announce, we know that Afghanistan’s neighbours share our desire to counter the scourge of global terrorism,” the Defence Department spokesperson said on Monday.
The United States will continue to pursue options with partners and allies in the region, the spokesperson said. The Defence Department is evaluating new basing options together with the State Department and the US intelligence community, the spokesperson added.