Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

Pakistan army chief says nation felt 'betrayed' by U.S. criticism

Services Public Relations the public relations arm of the Pakistani army Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa attends the Change of Command ceremony in Rawalpindi Pakistan. Bajwa says Inter Services Public Relations via AP
Lisa Bryan | 14 January, 2018, 00:48

Votel also told Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa that the US was "not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan", but is seeking its cooperation to capture militants based on Pakistani soil who carry out attacks in Afghanistan, the Pakistani statement said.

But it said the USA military was in "continuous communication" with Pakistan's military, to include recurring conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

The move, first announced by Trump in a New Year's Day tweet, sparked indignation in Pakistan, which has long denied the U.S. accusations of militant support, and accused Washington of dismissing the sacrifices it has made in the war on extremism. There has been speculation the USA military might undertake drone strikes deep inside Pakistan to target suspected hideouts of the Taliban and the allied Haqqani network. But a Pakistani official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the government had breathed "a sigh of relief" as their US counterparts played down Trump's comments.

Khan's observations come amid renewed U.S. criticism and withholding of security assistance to Pakistan over its alleged failure to take decisive action against militant groups hostile to the US.

For his part Bajwa told Votel that the "entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed" over the USA statements, but insisted Pakistan would continue to support peace efforts in the region despite being made a "scapegoat". He will not seek further funding.


Spokesman Colonel John Thomas said Centcom is in "continuous communication" with the Pakistan military, including recurring conversations between Votel and Bajwa. "We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward".

See: Is Imran Khan really Pakistan's Donald Trump?

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Pakistan has assisted the United States in its fight in the war on terrorism, providing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with supply routes into landlocked Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion, Bloomberg reports. Haley accused of playing "a double game for years" with Washington over its selective support of certain Pakistani-based terror groups - such as the Haqqani Network.

However, the U.S. military is also concerned that the Pakistani army, which effectively runs foreign policy, might close the air and land corridors on which US-led troops and Afghan forces in landlocked Afghanistan depend for supplies.

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