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Pak supply route closure won't imperil Afghan mission: US

Pak supply route closure won't imperil Afghan mission: US

Jul 27, 2011 - 12:52

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): Pakistaninfo-icon's blockade of a key supply route for US troops in Afghanistaninfo-icon would definitely have an impact, but would not jeopardise its military mission, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Yes (there would be delays), but in a way that would not jeopardise the mission," Gen. Martin Dempsey said at his confirmation hearing for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"It would be (a) classified issue of how many days of supply we maintain inside the country. But beyond that, we believe if that southern supply route were cut off, we could react," Dempsey said in response to a question from Ranking Republican Senator John McCain.

Dempsey said he would press the government of Pakistan to take the fight to the Haqqani Networkinfo-icon in the North Waziristan tribal region. "As acting commander of CENTCOM in those days, we talked about four particular networks that existed along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and we encouraged our Pakistani counterparts to press them."

Pakistanhad pressed some of the groups, but not all, he said. He would continue to work with Pakistan to reduce the safe havens in the border region, Dempsey promised. While working with Pakistan on security cooperation, he believed, the US should not push programmes that the Pakistanis did not want.

"Well, we certainly don't want to be guilty of reprising the epilogue of Charlie Wilson's War" and I take your point completely. And my job will be to -- given the strategic objectives in Afghanistan, to determine how best to meet them as -- if and when US force structure reduces. What is it that compensates for that? Is it Afghan capacity? Is it other agencies of government?

"It's important to remember that we went to Afghanistan for our national interest, not theirs, and that there is a residual requirement for that for how long as we deem our ability to do so. But this isn't about doing things just for them. It's in some way about doing things for us," he said.



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