A report in CNN claimed that the Biden administration told lawmakers that the US was about to formalise an agreement with Pakistan that will allow it to use the country’s airspace for carrying out military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan. Three sources privy to details of a recent classified briefing with members of Congress were quoted as making the revelation.
The report also said that Pakistan showed its interest in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in exchange for the US facilitating Pakistan’s own counterterrorism efforts and helping its relationship with India. Another source was quoted as saying that there has not been a final decision yet and the negotiations continue. The terms of agreement, the third source told CNN, can still change.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) has denied the CNN report. In a statement, the FO said that there was no understanding between Pakistan and the US that would allow the latter to to use the country’s airspace to conduct military strikes in Afghanistan.
Earlier in June, in an interview with Axios on HBO, Prime Minister Imran Khan had stated that Pakistan would not allow its bases to be used by the US for any action in Afghanistan. “Absolutely not,” he had said when the interviewer asked him if such an understanding could be reached between Pakistan and the US.
The interviewer was surprised by the PM’s clear answer, and ‘absolutely not’ went on to become a popular phrase among the ruling party’s supporters on social media who praised the PM for taking a stand.