Give Gen Qamar time to speed up anti-terror effort: US

Toner congratulates General Qamar Javed Bajwa on being appointed Pakistan’s chief of army staff

News Desk December 02, 2016
Gen Bajwa assumed command as Pakistan's 16th army chief on Tuesday. PHOTO: PPI

The United States on Thursday congratulated General Qamar Javed Bajwa on being appointed Pakistan’s chief of army staff.

Responding to a question during his daily press briefing, State Department’s Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said that General Qamar needed time to pace his efforts to counter terrorism.

“He was just appointed at the end of November, so let’s give this gentleman a chance to get up to speed,” he said.

In response to another question about cooperation with Pakistan on countering terrorism, the spokesperson said that Washington was working “quite closely” with the Pakistani authorities to curb the menace.

“They’re aware of some of our concerns, which include a safe haven for some terrorist groups that are active in the region,” he said, adding that Pakistan had also paid the price of terrorism.

“It’s in their interests, obviously, to crack down on any terrorist group that may be finding safe haven within its borders.”

Toner also addressed the allegations raised by a journalist that Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the Somali student who wounded 11 people in a car-ramming and knife attack on an Ohio university campus earlier this week, had received training in Pakistan.

The suspect was shot dead by police following the incident.

Toner said the recent Ohio attack is “still an ongoing investigation” and refused to “address some of the assumptions in [the journalist’s] question with regard to the motivation behind these actions or where these people may have received any sort of training”.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2016.

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