Wednesday July 17, 2024

US building ‘Sahel to South Asia’ alliance against IS

American NSA Susan Rice tells Sartaj Aziz Pakistan will be kept in the loop

By our correspondents
September 08, 2015
ISLAMABAD: US National Security Adviser Susan Rice informed her counterpart Sartaj Aziz on her recent visit to Islamabad that the US was putting together a new military alliance from ‘Sahel to South Asia’, to take up the fight against the IS.
“Yes, it was during her meeting with Sartaj Aziz that she informed us about this new development. When she was asked for further details, she said that the US was still ‘fleshing’ out this new policy and Pakistan would be kept in the loop as developments take place,” a senior official in the Foreign Office commented when asked about the earlier reports.
In a background briefing on the visit of Sartaj Aziz to Kabul, officials said that the new US alliance was labeled from ‘Sahel to South Asia’. Sahel is the area in Africa between the Sahara Desert to the north and the Sudanese Savanna to the south.
“Of course as has been our policy, we will not join any military alliance as you saw our position in the military coalition against Yemen. We had maintained that despite this we would be in the forefront if Saudi Arabia itself was attacked. We will be discussing this issue both at the civil and military levels in future meetings to arrive at a final decision,” the official added.
The military leadership of Pakistan and the US, which meets frequently at different levels, will further deliberate on the new alliance.
The official made it clear that Susan Rice was told that Pakistan wanted to remain engaged with the US on this new alliance and was waiting for a meeting early next year where the world capitals would be invited.
“Let us wait and see if Pakistan will receive an invitation but we are very clear about our position in any new US led alliance,” he pointed out.
Earlier, at the background briefing, officials did not deny the fact that the IS was a reality and its presence was very much there across our western borders.
“The IS has presence in Afghanistan, and they maintain close collaboration with militant organisations, and if not tackled they can pose a threat to Pakistan’s security,” the official added.