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Pentagon warns Pakistan of unilateral action against terrorists

Pentagon warns Pakistan of unilateral action against terrorists

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Dec 16, 2017 - 09:11

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Pentagon on Friday warned Pakistaninfo-icon of taking “unilateral steps” in case of “divergence” on the war against terrorism.

In a report to the Congress, the Pentagon said the US had a “willing and able partner” in President Ashraf Ghani to implement the South Asia Policy of President Donald Trump.

The Pentagon in its semiannual report “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistaninfo-icon” said that under the new strategy, the US would continue to support the Afghan government and security forces against terrorists.

The US would be a part of a whole-of-government, regional strategy to isolate the Talibaninfo-icon from sources of externalinfo-icon support and to mitigate any malign influence from outside actors. 

“Our military-to-military relationship with Pakistan remains critical to the success of our mutual interests in the region. To move forward, we must see fundamental changes in the way Pakistan deals with terrorist safe-havens in its territory,” the report said. 

“To induce that change, we will work across the US Government, using a range of tools to expand our cooperation with Pakistan in areas where our interests converge and to take unilateral steps in areas of divergence,” the Pentagon said. 

The Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various groups, including al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), the Haqqani Networkinfo-icon, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ISIS-K, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. 

“Sanctuary on the Pakistani side and presence on the Afghan side remain security challenges for both countries and pose a threat to regional security and stability,” the report said.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship remains tenuous and leaders from each country have accused the other of harboring terrorists and allowing the planning of attacks from their soil.

The US continued to encourage both countries to work together to solve common problems, such as border security, but deep-rooted mistrust remains a significant barrier to progress, it said. 

Although Pakistani military operations have disrupted some militant sanctuaries, certain extremist groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network retain the freedom of movement in Pakistan. 

The United States continued to convey to all levels of Pakistani leadership the importance of taking action against all terrorist and extremist groups, the report said.

Increased collaboration between Afghanistan and Pakistan is critical to maintaining pressure on militant and terrorist groups and for meeting the enduring security requirements on both sides of the shared border. 

“The trust deficit resulting from Pakistan’s inaction against Afghan-oriented extremists, and Pakistan’s concerns about terrorist attacks launched from Afghanistan, hampers the bilateral military collaboration required to achieve enduring security,” the report said. 

Since the beginning of President Ghani’s tenure, leaders from both countries have attempted to improve relations and to address mutual security interests, such as the threat from various extremist groups in the border region more effectively, it said. 

“These efforts have been inconsistent, interrupted by high-profile terrorist attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and public statements by each government disparaging one another. 

“Each country publicly claims that the other provides sanctuary to certain militant groups and lacks the will to combat them,” the Pentagon concluded.

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