The Pakistan government on Saturday rejected media reports about the possibility of signing an agreement with the US on the use of the country’s airspace for operations against terrorists in Afghanistan, clarifying that there was “no such understanding” between the two countries.
US media organisation CNN, in a report, cites “sources familiar with the details of a classified briefing” to the US Congress, and said that the Biden administration has informed US lawmakers that the country was close to striking a formal deal with Pakistan for the use of its airspace to conduct operations in Afghanistan.
The report claimed that Pakistan had expressed a desire to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in return for help in its own counterterrorism operations and assistance with managing the relationship with India.
“No such understanding was in place,” Pakistan Foreign Office’s spokesperson said in response to queries about whether the country’s airspace would be used to conduct military and intelligence operations in the neighbouring country, Dawn reported.
The spokesperson, however, stressed that Pakistan and the US had “longstanding cooperation” on issues of regional security and counter-terrorism and “the two sides remain engaged in regular consultations”.
In June, in an interview with Axios, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had categorically said that his country would “absolutely not” allow any bases and use of its territory to the US for any sort of action inside Afghanistan — his clear-cut response surprising the interviewer.
“Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties, more than any other country by joining the American war. We cannot afford any more military actions from our territory. We will be partners in peace, not in conflict,” the prime minister had said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)