Turbulence in relationship temporary, US general tells Pak army chief

Turbulence in relationship temporary, US general tells Pak army chief

SAM Staff,
Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, file photo

Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa received a telephone call from the Commander US Central Command (Centcom), Gen Joseph L. Votel, and another from a US Senator to discuss Pak-US security cooperation in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s intense criticism and withholding of aid from Pakistan since the turn of the year, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) reported on Friday (Jan 12).

Gen Votel reportedly told the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) that the US values Pakistan’s role in the so-called ‘War on Terror’ and that the recent turbulence in the two countries’ relationship remains “a temporary phase.”

He also reportedly conveyed to the COAS that the US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but instead seeks its cooperation in tackling Afghan nationals who, in America’s view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan. That, the American general feels, has been undermining Pakistan’s contributions in the war, the ISPR release said.

The COAS reportedly told Gen Votel that the entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over the US government’s recent statements, which he said ignored decades of cooperation on Pakistan’s part.

The army chief said Pakistan shall continue with its “sincere counterterrorism efforts” even without the financial support of the US, as doing so is in line with Pakistan’s national interests.

The COAS also said Pakistan was fully aware of American concerns on the activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan, and that it has already taken action through Operation Raddul Fasaad.

Gen Bajwa also reiterated that Pakistan will not seek the resumption of aid but expects honourable recognition of its contributions, sacrifices and unwavering support in the fight against terrorism.

It was also understood in the conversations that Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the American tendency of scapegoating Pakistan, as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move towards enduring peace and stability in the region, the ISPR said.

Gen Votel, meanwhile, acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan’s hospitality to Afghan refugees is not misused in any way.

He also agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.