US closely watching Pakistan-Iran situation; in touch with Pakistani officials

Pakistan-Iran situation

WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (APP/DNA): The United States is monitoring the situation between Pakistan and Iran “very, very closely”, while urging the two countries to avoid escalating tensions, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

“These are two well-armed nations and again we don’t want to see an escalation,” Kirby told reporters traveling with President Joe Biden aboard Air Force One. he added, “We don’t want to see an escalation, clearly, in South and Central Asia. And we’re in touch with our Pakistani counterparts, as you might expect.”

Pakistan launched missile strikes into Iran on Wednesday, after Iran carried out strikes in Pakistan late on Tuesday. A foreign office spokesperson said Pakistani precision strikes had hit “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s south-eastern Sistan-Baluchestan province.

Questioned about US concerns over the exchange of fire between Iran and Pakistan, Kirby said, “I want to let Pakistan speak to their military operations. I want to be careful about that. As you know, they were struck first by Iran, which was obviously — another reckless attack, another example of Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region.”

Kirby said he was “not aware” whether Washington had any pre-notification about Pakistan’s retaliatory attack.

At the US State Department news briefing on Thursday, Spokesman Matthew Miller also said that tensions between Pakistan and Iran should not escalate in “any way, shape, or form.”

“Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally of the United States. That will remain the case, but we would urge restraint in this case,” Miller said in response to a question.

Miller said Iranian and Pakistani tensions are not connected to the conflict in Gaza, but given the tensions in the region there’s risk for increased conflict.

“We’ve been incredibly concerned about the potential for escalation since October 7th, and that’s why we have engaged in intense diplomatic efforts to try to prevent escalation,” Miller said.

” So, I will say we noted the comments from the Government of Pakistan about the importance of cooperative relations between Pakistan and its neighbours. We thought those were productive, useful statements. And certainly, there’s no need for escalation, and we would urge restraint on all sides in this case.”