Pakistan rejects reports of agreement with US to conduct air operations in Afghanistan
Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday rejected reports about an agreement with the United States on the use of its airspace for intelligence operations in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
The Foreign Office (FO) issued a statement in response to media queries regarding the news report alluding to formalisation of an agreement between the two countries to conduct military and intelligence operations against Afghanistan. The FO statement read: “No such understanding was in place.”
However, it added: “Pakistan and the US have long-standing cooperation on regional security and counter-terrorism and the two sides remain engaged in regular consultations.”
CNN News had reported quoting three sources familiar with the details of a classified briefing with members of the US Congress that took place on Friday that the US was nearing an agreement with Pakistan for use of its airspace to conduct operations in Afghanistan.
The Pakistan Opposition parties had also demanded the government to give an explanation on the reports that Pakistan had allowed the US military to use its airspace.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan in an interview had categorically said that Pakistan would “absolutely not” allow any bases and use of its territory for any sort of action inside Afghanistan.
“Absolutely not. There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not,” Khan had told ‘Axios on HBO’ in an interview in June.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US’ complete troop withdrawal on August 31 after a costly two-decade war.