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Wednesday, December 08 2021

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Pakistan denies understanding reached with US on using airspace for Afghan military strikes

New Delhi: The Pakistan Foreign Office on Saturday issued a statement on a report by CNN claiming that a formal agreement for the use of Pakistan’s airspace by the US to conduct military strikes in Afghanistan was close, clarifying that there was “no such understanding” between the two countries, Dawn reported.

CNN, in its report, cited three “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, Dawn reported.

The report said that according to a source, the negotiations were still underway and the details of the agreement, which have not yet been hammered out, were still subject to change.

Hours after the CNN report was published, the Pakistan Foreign Office issued a statement.

“No such understanding was in place,” the FO 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.

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”.

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