Islamabad : The US won’t conduct unilateral anti-terror operations in Pakistan depsite President Donald Trump suspending American military aid and criticising Islamabad for “lies and deceit”, a top American military commander has assured the Army Chief, Gen Qamar Bajwa.
Pakistan Army’s public affairs division Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has released the details of Gen Bajwa’s recent contacts with the US leaders, Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.
The army chief was contacted by Centcom Commander Gen Joseph Votel last week and an unnamed Senator to defuse tensions after Trump’s New Year Day hostile tweet accusing Pakistan of lying and being deceitful towards the US.
The calls, according to the ISPR, were for discussing “Pak-US security cooperation post President Trump tweet”.
Dawn said that the Centcom chief conveyed “three key messages” to the Army Chief. These included that “the problems in ties were temporary, there would be no unilateral action against Pakistan and that the US did not want a disruption in ties rather it wanted cooperation from Islamabad on areas of its concern”.
Possibility of a unilateral action by the US was key concern in Islamabad, especially after a Pentagon report on Afghanistan last month mentioned “unilateral steps in areas of divergence”.
The broader contours of Gen Bajwa’s response shared with the US, as per the ISPR, included a commitment to continuing its operations against terrorism and an acknowledgment of the US concerns about the presence of Afghan militants.
“Pakistan is fully aware of US 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.
He also told the American general that that the “entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed” over the US statements, but insisted Pakistan would continue to support peace efforts in the region despite being made a “scapegoat”.