Pak army rejects reports on joint Waziristan offensive
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has rejected reports appeared in the US media that an understanding had been reached with NATO troops based in Afghanistan about the army's readiness to launch "joint operations" in the militancy-plagued north Waziristan tribal region.
The army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement on Friday said Army Chief Gen. Kayani had made Pakistan's position clear in this regard when Commander of US Centcom General James N Mattis called on him on Thursday night. Both sides discussed matters of mutual interest at length, the ISPR statement said.
"The COAS (Chief of Army Staff) clarified Pakistan's position by referring to Secretary (of State Hilary) Clinton's statement on July 3‚ in which she talked of coordinated actions against terrorists who threaten Pakistan and the region,” the statement said.
It quoted General Kayani as saying that it was important to distinguish between 'coordinated action' and 'joint operation'.
Coordinated action meant operations on the respective sides of Pakistan-Afghanistan border, it said. "For such actions‚ intelligence sharing is the mainstay of mutual co-operation". "Contrarily‚ a 'joint operation' implies that the two forces are physically employed jointly on either side of the border. A 'joint operation' in this sense is unacceptable to the people and Armed Forces of Pakistan‚ and hence‚ has always been our clearly stated red line."
The Army Chief said they might undertake operations in North Waziristan Agency‚ if necessary‚ in line with their political and military requirements.
“It will never be a result of any outside pressure. Pakistan's national interest continues to be the prime consideration for any decision in this regard,” the statement quoted Kayani as saying.
At the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction over the level of co-operation between the two militaries and resolved to continue it to further improve relations between the two countries.
Meanwhile, a US Embassy statement said both sides agreed to continue to meet periodically on cross-border co-operation and regional security.
General Mattis reaffirmed the importance of the US-Pakistan security relationship beyond ongoing operations in Afghanistan for regional stability.
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