A senior White House official has said that she cannot “predict” when US President Joe Biden would make a call to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan though there has been high-level engagements between the two countries.
Imran Khan during recent interviews to the American media has complained that a “busy” President Biden has not bothered to speak to him though Washington was seeking Pakistan’s support in stabilising Afghanistan.
Replying to a question during the daily briefing on Monday on whether there could be a call from Biden to Khan at some point soon, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “I don’t have anything to predict at this point in time. If they do a call, we will of course read it out to all of you.”
The media, during the briefing, highlighted that as President Biden was meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Imran Khan took to the stage at the UN and delivered some “scathing criticism of the US’ actions in Afghanistan and he lamented the lack of direct engagement between himself and President Biden.
Responding to this, Ms Psaki said that the US has been in touch at very high levels with leaders in Pakistan from the State Department, from the Department of Defence, and from other key components of the Biden administration.
“The President has not spoken with every foreign leader at this point in time; that is absolutely true. But he, of course, has a team — an expert team deployed to do exactly that,” she said.
Ms Psaki said that the US and Pakistan were continuing to “work together and work on initiatives where we can, make clear where we have concern, but I wouldn’t overread into a leader-to-leader call in that particular regard.”
“We have high-level engagement from the State Department, Defence Department, and others at this point.”
On Monday, the State Department announced that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R Sherman will travel to Pakistan next month after her trip to India.
Imran Khan, while delivering his UN General Assembly address on Friday, said that Pakistan has been blamed for the turn of events in Afghanistan, by politicians in the United States and some politicians in Europe.
“I want them all to know, the country that suffered the most, apart from Afghanistan, was Pakistan, when we joined the US War on Terror after 9/11,” he said. “Unfortunately, in trying to force a military solution is where the US went wrong,” he said during his address.
Imran Khan had in the past expressed his disappointment over the US President’s reluctance to talk to him since he came to office in January this year.
“He is a busy man”, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said curtly about US President Joe Biden on September 15.
Imran Khan admitted that he had not spoken to Biden since the collapse of the Afghan government.
When asked why Joe Biden hadn’t called him since coming into office in January, Imran Khan curtly said: “He is a busy man” and later said Joe Biden should be asked “why he is too busy to call”.
During an interaction with foreign journalists at his residence in August, he had said that he was not really “waiting” for a phone call from Joe Biden.
“I keep hearing that President Biden hasn’t called me. It’s his business. It’s not like I am waiting for any phone call,” he had said in response to a question.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)