Sartaj Aziz meets US Senate delegation

McCain, Warren, Graham visit troops in Afghanistan for 4th of July

US officials say they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, after the review the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, due in mid-July, where some 8,800 USA troops remain to support the Western-backed government.

The US delegation said that Pakistan's proposal could be handy in Afghan normalisation as the Trump administration was conducting a review of the regional situation including Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other countries.

The U.S. senators held extensive talks at the foreign ministry where Pakistani side was led by foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz, said an official statement after the meeting.

He said Kashmir is a disputed territory and the issue can only be resolved through composite dialogue.

The move instantly invited ire from Islamabad, which rejected the US decision, saying the 70-year-old indigenous struggle of Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir remains legitimate.

McCain, thanking Aziz on behalf of the delegation that included senators Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren and David Perdue "appreciated the contributions and sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism", the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.

On June 26, hours before the first-ever meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, Washington declared Syed Sallahuddin, the head of Hizb-ul-Mujahddin - the largest armed group fighting Indian occupation of Kashmir - a global terrorist.

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He said that continued engagement with Pakistan, a close friend and ally of the United States, was important. An official, who attended the meeting, told Pakistan Today that the U.S. congressmen looked keen in revival of peace efforts in Afghanistan and asked Pakistan to come up with its suggestions to normalise situation in Afghanistan.

"The US will continue its policy regarding Kashmir issue and no change has been made in this regard". Aziz said Pakistan remained committed to support efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain said on Sunday that Pakistan plays a significant role in the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He also asked how Afghan Taliban could join the peace process.

He said that Pakistan was also ready to strengthen and deepen its partnership with the USA to counter the new and emerging terrorism threats including the expanding footprint of ISIS in the region.

He stressed that Pakistan "firmly" believed in the "legitimacy of the Kashmir cause and the peaceful struggle of the Kashmiri people".

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