'US presses Pak to fight terror groups as Afghan crisis spirals'

Islamabad: The Biden administration is quietly pressing Pakistan to cooperate on combating dreaded terrorist groups such as the ISIS-K and Al Qaeda following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, according to a set of leaked documents and diplomatic cables to a prominent US media outlet.

The Dawn newspaper on Saturday carried a report quoting a news report published on Friday by the Politico on a slew of diplomatic messages exchanged between Washington and Islamabad recently after the Taliban insurgents seized power in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The messages show that "the Biden administration is quietly pressing Pakistan to cooperate on fighting terrorist groups such as ISIS-Khorasan and Al Qaeda in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan," the Politico, which obtained the sensitive but unclassified cables and other written materials, reported.

In response, Pakistan has hinted that Islamabad deserves more public recognition of its role in helping people now fleeing Afghanistan, even as it has downplayed fears of what Taliban rule of the country could mean," according to the report.

The messages show that Washington sees Pakistan as "a nation with links to the Afghan Taliban whose cooperation on fighting terrorism can be helpful. It's also a nuclear-armed country American officials would prefer not to lose entirely to the Chinese influence," the report said.

China, the closest ally of Pakistan, has been coordinating closely with it on the emerging situation in war-torn Afghanistan since Islamabad is said to have some influence over the Taliban insurgents.

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. This forced Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country to the UAE. The Taliban insurgents stormed across Afghanistan and captured all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.

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