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January 13, 2018

Pakistan feels betrayed by US: COAS

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January 13, 2018

RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has conveyed to Commander US Central Command (Centcom) General Joseph L Votel that the entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over the recent statements from the US despite decades of cooperation.

He said Pakistan will continue its sincere counter terrorism efforts even without the US financial support in accordance with its national interest and will remain committed to bringing it to logical conclusion along with other stakeholders.

The COAS said that Pakistan suffered hugely due to great power contest in the region. According to the ISPR, General Bajwa received two telephone calls from General Joseph Votel and one from a US senator over the week to discuss the Pak-US security cooperation post the President Trump tweet.

“Pakistan will not seek resumption of aid but expects honourable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in the fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region,” General Bajwa reiterated while talking to the Centcom commander.

General Joseph Votel apprised the COAS about the US decision regarding the security assistance and Coalition Support Fund (CAF), saying that the US values Pakistan’s role towards the war on terror and expected that ongoing turbulence remains a temporary phase.

He also conveyed to the army chief that the US was not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan, but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in the US view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan.

The COAS said that Pakistan is fully aware of the US concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and multiple actions are already been taken through the Operation Raddul Fasad to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan refugees is an essential prerequisite. He said Pakistan is also strengthening the border controls unilaterally, but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected from Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul’s top priority as well.

General Bajwa further said that Pakistan would keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the tendency to scapegoat Pakistan, as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move towards enduring peace and stability in the region. General Joseph Votel acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan’s hospitality to Afghan refugees is not misused in anyway. The Centcom commander agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.

AFP adds: Spokesman Colonel John Thomas said Centcom is in "continuous communication" with the Pakistan military, including recurring conversations between Votel and General Bajwa. "We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward," Thomas told AFP.

Trump has been less charitable towards Pakistan. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" he wrote in his New Year’s Day tweet, referring to Pakistan.

Officials said the administration had frozen payments from the Coalition Support Fund set aside to reimburse Pakistani spending on counter-terror operations, worth $900 million. Also in question is almost $1 billion of US military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology.

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