US to consider a range of options against Pakistan
But another defence official told Congressmen the US would consider a “range of options” against Pakistan if it did not take effective action against terrorist organisations.
Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told reporters that some key issues between the two countries could be resolved before the NATO summit in Chicago in May.
He said he had seen the “CliffsNotes” version of the meeting between US Central Command chief General James Mattis, International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John Allen and Pakistani Army chief Gen. Parvez Ashfaq Kayani.
“There will be some things both of us want to resolve before the NATO Summit in May. One of these issues is opening the ground lines of communication through Pakistan to Afghanistan,” Dempsey added.
However, James Miller, during his confirmation hearing for the post of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, said US forces in Afghanistan were authorised to act in self-defence if they were attacked by terrorist groups from the Pakistani side of the border.
“Attacks against US and coalition personnel are unacceptable. It is Pakistan’s responsibility to prevent attacks from its territory on others, including Afghanistan and US forces there. If Pakistan does not address these threats, the US will have to consider a range of options, but it is best when we have Pakistan’s cooperation,” he remarked.
Miller viewed the ability of extremist groups to find support and safe haven in Pakistan as a significant threat to US forces, the NATO mission and Afghanistan’s long-term stability.
The Pentagon official acknowledged Pakistan had legitimate concerns that should be understood and addressed, if possible, by the Afghan government in any process to bring about a stable and durable political solution.
“But Pakistan also has responsibilities of its own, including taking decisive steps to ensure that the Afghan Taliban and affiliated organisations, including the Haqqani network, cannot continue to conduct the insurgency from its territory,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, at another Congressional hearing, a Pentagon official said the Northern Distribution Network was three to four times more expensive because it was three to four times lengthier.
“If we can't negotiate or successfully negotiate the reopening of the PAK GLOC (Ground Lines of Communication) we have to default and rely on India and the Northern Distribution Network, our increased strat airlift,” Marine Corps Lieutenant General Frank Panter, the deputy commandant for Installations and logistics, told lawmakers.
Army Lieutenant General Raymond Mason, deputy chief of staff, called the Pakistan route critical and said it had been closed since November. “The good news is, because of a lot of really great planning, our logistics situation is in very good shape. Fuel we watch very closely.”
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.