Pakistan army chief: United States general called, offered assurances

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

After days of testy exchanges between Washington and Islamabad, the US Central Command (Centcom) chief has ruled out unilateral action against terrorists on Pakistan's soil.

The high-level contact came after U.S. President Donald Trump, in a New Year Day's tweet, accused Pakistan of "lies and deceit", saying the country is providing havens to militants fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan is fully aware of U.S. concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation Raddul Fasaad to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan refugees is an essential prerequisite", Gen Bajwa was quoted as having told Gen Votel.

The dialogue comes a week after the U.S announced its suspension of security assistance to Pakistan for failing to take "decisive action" against Taliban militants targeting USA personnel in neighboring Afghanistan.

Gen Bajwa, according to the ISPR statement, told the Centcom chief that Pakistan would press on with counterterrorism operations without financial support from the Trump administration.

The spokesman said that during the conversation with Votel, General Bajwa noted Pakistan was fully aware of US concerns about the activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and that steps were being taken to counter them.

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The broader contours of Gen Bajwa's response shared with the USA, as per the ISPR, included a commitment to continuing its operations against terrorism and an acknowledgment of the U.S. concerns about the presence of Afghan militants. He also acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan.

Bajwa assured Votel that Pakistan would continue to follow through with its counter-terrorism plans without U.S. financial support, according to AP.

"[The army chief] reiterated that Pakistan will not seek resumption of [U.S.] aid but expects honorable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in the fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region".

Head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel spoke by phone with Pakistan's army chief offering assurances that the United States will not unilaterally strike targets inside Pakistan, a spokesman for Pakistan's military said on Friday.

According to VOA, a US Central Command spokesman confirmed Votel's contact with Bajwa. The committee at the time said that the US was scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan after 16 years of war.

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