Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Pakistan refutes report of talks with US on use of airspace

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Saturday rejected a news report that claimed the US is nearing a final agreement with Pakistan for use of its airspace to conduct military and intelligence operations in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Responding to media queries regarding the latest news report “alluding to formalization of an agreement for the use of Pakistan’s airspace by the United States to conduct military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan”, spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said, “no such understanding was in place.”

Also Read: No plans to handover airbases to US: FM Qureshi

“Pakistan and the U.S. have longstanding cooperation on regional security and counter-terrorism and the two sides remain engaged in regular consultations,” he added.

Earlier, a CNN report said the Biden administration has told lawmakers that Washington was nearing a formalized agreement with Islamabad for use of its airspace.

Citing sources, the report said negotiations are ongoing and that the terms of the agreement, which has not yet been finalised, could still change. It said the US military currently uses Pakistan’s airspace to reach Afghanistan as part of ongoing intelligence-gathering efforts.

Also Read: US finds Pakistan useful only in Afghan peace process: PM Imran

However, there is no formal agreement in place to ensure continued access to a critical piece of airspace necessary for the US to reach Afghanistan.

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