US not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan: General Joseph

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: The Commander US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Joseph L. Votel has told the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa that the United States is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in the US view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan.

Talking to the COAS on phone over the week, General Joseph L. Votel apprised the COAS about the US decision regarding Security Assistance and Coalition Support Fund, and said the Unites States values Pakistan’s role towards war on terror and expected that on-going turbulence remains a temporary phase, said a press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Friday.

The general also conveyed the COAS that the use of Pakistan’s soil by Afghan nationals against Afghanistan was undermining in Washington, Pakistan’s contributions in war against terrorism.

In his remarks, the COAS said that entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over the US recent statements despite decades of cooperation. He said that Pakistan shall continue its sincere counter terrorism efforts even without the US financial support in accordance with our national interest and shall remain committed to bring it to its logical conclusion along with other stake holders.

The COAS said that Pakistan has suffered hugely due to great power contestation in the region. He said that Pakistan is fully aware of the US concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation ‘Radd-ul-Fasaad’ to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan Refugees is an essential prerequisite.

The Army Chief said that Pakistan is also strengthening border controls unilaterally but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected from Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul’s top priority as well.

The COAS reiterated that Pakistan will not seek resumption of aid but expect honorable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region.

Furthermore, the COAS said that Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the tendency to scapegoat Pakistan, as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move towards enduring peace and stability in the region.

General Joseph L. Votel 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 anyway. He agreed that both Pakistan and the US stand to gain from cooperative engagement.

The ISPR said that the COAS also received a telephone call from a US Senator over the week to discuss Pak-US security cooperation post the President Donald Trump’s tweet.

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