11:39 GMT21 October 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Ahead of her visit to India, US Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan visited Pakistan, where she met Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Army Chief.

    After her meeting with Pakistan leaders and a visit to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, US Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan called upon both Islamabad and New Delhi to take urgent steps to de-escalate tensions in the Kashmir region.

    ​​Hassan met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. She said in a Tweet that she discussed counterterrorism and regional stability with Pakistani leaders.  

    She also visited Afghanistan, where she met President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah, among other government officials.

    Hassan said she met government and military leaders of Afghanistan,  US troops and embassy personnel during her visit. "We discussed topics critical to our nation's security, including counterterrorism efforts, drug trafficking and regional stability," she said in a Tweet.

    Long-existing tensions between India and Pakistan dramatically escalated in February when a suicide bomber from the Pakistan-based group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), attacked a convoy of troops in Kashmir's Pulwama. Forty Indian soldiers were killed in the attack, and in retaliation, the Indian Air Force carried out an aerial strike at an alleged JeM camp in Pakistan's Balakot.

    Relations between the two traditional foes were further strained when New Delhi stripped the restive Jammu and Kashmir state of its special status in early August. Islamabad, which also claims to be a stakeholder in Kashmir, launched a diplomatic offensive against New Delhi.


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