WASHINGTON: ISAF Commander General John Allen says they are trying to restore cross-border relations with Pakistan.
Speaking at the think tank the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, General Allen said that the relationships between the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), the Haqqani Network and other groups go back a long time, but he refused to comment further, saying he could not speculate why the ISI is doing anything, and said that these relations were unhelpful.
“In this forum I can’t really speculate on why the ISI does anything with respect to the Haqqanis. I don’t think we should be surprised that they have a relationship, that relationship with the ISI and a number of these organisations goes back a very long time,” he said.
But he added that the fact these relationships exist are not of particular surprise. “We shouldn’t be surprised that they have a relationship, I would not speculate on what specific operational support they have or whether they are an actual arm. I would just say that the relationship potentially is unhelpful.”
In response to a question, the ISAF Commander said that “opportunities exist with Pakistan to increase cooperation”. He said that ISAF has tried to revamp procedures after the Salala incident to reduce occurence of another incident like this.
General Allen said that they have tried to restore cross border relationship with Pakistani military officers. He said that several meetings had been held in the past few months with Afghan and Pakistani officers to resume border relations. In response to a question, General Allen said that they were not in a position at the moment to participate in complementary operations with Pakistan, but added that he had been discussing it with COAS General Kayani a day before the Salala airstrike in their meeting on November 25 last year.
General Allen added that more than 2000 people have been killed in counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan.