WASHINGTON: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel next month to Pakistan and India that have clashed on the way forward in Afghanistan, the State Department announced Monday.
Sherman, after CIA chief Bill Burns, will be one of the first high-level officials under President Joe Biden to visit Pakistan, which has long irritated the United States over its relationship with the Taliban.
Sherman will meet senior officials in Islamabad on October 7-8 after an earlier visit to New Delhi and Mumbai on October 6-7, when she will meet officials and civil society leaders and address the US-India Business council's annual "ideas summit," the State Department said. The trip comes as India, one of the top allies of the Western-backed Afghan government that collapsed last month, urges the world to pay closer attention to Pakistan's role in the turmoil.
The State Department said that Sherman will also visit Uzbekistan. The United States has been working with regional nations to ensure it can maintain forces that can strike quickly in response to any threats from extremist movements such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group inside Afghanistan following the US withdrawal.
Sherman will separately hold her latest talks with Russia on Thursday in Geneva. It will be the second meeting of the so-called Strategic Stability Dialogue set up at a June summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin to reduce tensions and talk through disagreements.
The first meeting in late July focused heavily on arms control, one area where Biden has expressed an eagerness to cooperate with Russia despite concerns on multiple fronts including hacking and Moscow's alleged support for interference in US elections.