US-Pak military commanders in talks following damning White House report on terrorApril 7th, 2011 - 12:58 pm ICT by ANI
Islamabad, April 7(ANI): Military commanders from Pakistan and the United States will make yet another effort on Thursday to mend their bilateral ties, which were served another blow by a new White House report that gave a harshly critical assessment of Pakistan’s efforts towards “defeating the insurgency” thriving in the country.
US Central Command (Centcom) chief General James Mattis arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday evening for talks with the top brass of the Pakistani military on ‘operational matters’, with a specific focus on issues that have strained the US-Pak military ties.
His arrival was preceded by the submission of a bi-annual assessment by the White House to Congress that not only painted a grim picture of the deficits in Pakistan’s counter-insurgency efforts, but also mentioned the reluctance of the Pakistan military in accepting “US-provided helicopter maintenance teams,” part of a broader concern about letting American troops operate openly on the ground in Pakistan.
The report has alleged that along with Afghanistan, Pakistan continues to be the operational base of Al Qaeda and its affiliates threatening global peace, and noted that the Pakistani military’s effort to clear militants from Mohmand, a part of the northwest Pakistan’s tribal areas, was failing for the third time in two years.
General Mattis’s message is going to be in line with this White House assessment, the Dawn reports.
US military sources indicated that while he would acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices, he would also highlight the threat posed to the stability of Pakistan and the world at large by the continued presence of Al Qaeda sanctuaries and safe havens for other extremist groups in the country’s tribal regions.
The Americans are particularly concerned about the impact of what it sees as Pakistan’s faltering in the fight against militants on the stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan.
And as one US official put it, General Mattis would tell Pakistan that notwithstanding challenges in their bilateral ties, the US remained committed to an enduring partnership and being a steadfast partner.
Whether these words will be able to soothe the ruffled feathers of the reportedly annoyed Pakistani generals remains to be seen. (ANI)
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