Pakistan plays down US commander’s remarks

Published: February 11, 2017
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Lieutenant General John Nicholson. PHOTO: AFP

Lieutenant General John Nicholson. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani officials on Friday played down remarks by the top US commander in Afghanistan who urged the new administration for a ‘holistic review’ of America’s relationship with Pakistan.

General John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that Taliban fighters and the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network continued to find sanctuary across the border in Pakistan’s tribal areas, The Washington Times reported.

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“We need to do a holistic review of our Pakistan policy,” said the US commander, adding that more American troops were needed to break the ‘stalemate’.

Pakistan avoided issuing any official comment but a senior official said there was nothing new or significant in Gen Nicholson’s statement. However, he said that the remarks reflected the American military’s “frustration over security challenges they are facing in Afghanistan”.

“There would be negative and positive statements coming out of Washington as Indian and Afghan lobbies are also active (there). But the … messages we have received by the Trump administration are positive,” the official told The Express Tribune.

He also referred to the Thursday’s telephonic conversation between the US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and said that Americans “acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices”.

“They (the Americans) realised our importance and relevance. They also realise that negative statements can spoil the (friendly) atmosphere,” said the official, who requested not to be identified.

According to him, the US was focusing on Da’esh, adding that this organisation had no organised presence in Pakistan and operated from Afghanistan.

“Pakistan is ready to cooperate with the United Sates to counter the emerging threat of Daesh in Afghanistan,” the official said.

“So far there is no major negative vibration from there (the US),” he said.

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When asked if Pakistan expected any major change in the US policy on Afghanistan under President Trump, he said that priorities of the new administration were unclear at the moment.

“The US has not yet unveiled its policy whether or not they will send in more troops or go for reconciliation in Afghanistan. I think they have not made up their minds about what to do,” he said.

He pointed out that some people in the new administration had Afghan experience, including Jim Mattis, and “I think they are waiting for Trump’s decision.”

Jim Mattis had once served as the Head of the Central Command that also oversaw wars in Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • abreez
    Feb 11, 2017 - 9:26AM

    The remarks reflected the American military’s “frustration over security challenges they are facing in theft of $30 trillion minerals of Afghanistan”. American cannot blame anyone else because first American ruined the reputation of their biggest supporters on 2nd May 2011 and then they fail to get support from any new power in Pakistan. The only option for America is leave Afghanistan and try its luck in South China Sea because after some time there will be no South China Sea and everyone will focus on East China Sea. If America will leave with only one option then China will be a winner both on paper and on ground.Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Feb 11, 2017 - 10:15AM

    Lets see how Trump handles Pakistan in the upcoming months. Currently, he is too busy with domestic politics.Recommend

  • sam ganiee
    Feb 11, 2017 - 10:15AM

    if America vl fight the Afghani Taliban’s ,for more than a decade,there vl b no positive results,,CONVERSATION with them is the best option for west..Recommend

  • waqas
    Feb 11, 2017 - 10:55AM

    When someone feels that he cannot play vital role, in such circumstances proclamations like this eventually coming out to save his skin. # Mr. Trump General John wants relieve from his duty becoz he is not more prolific for you now, took pity on him. Recommend

  • Naim Khan
    Feb 11, 2017 - 11:15AM

    Americans are ungrateful, you should be greatful to Pakistan what Pakistan has done for you helped you to fight Cold War for years, now you are loosing respect in the world,you can not be forever, you been on the top for too long now you have to fall. And you will fall who is going to be the next champion of the world? Time will tell. And don’t be ungrateful to Pakistan. Recommend

  • genie
    Feb 11, 2017 - 1:37PM

    The European terrorism as highlighted by the European historians is more that 450 years old today.
    The hallmark of European terrorism can be found everywhere in the world.
    We all can see vividly the European terrorism in action even today.
    We all can ask this question as to why is there no trouble in Vietnam as we such trouble in other places ?
    The right answer is “The European terrorists are no more in Vietnam as they are wherever there is trouble”.Recommend

  • lt Col Imtiaz Alam retd
    Feb 11, 2017 - 7:25PM

    How can we take this nonsense from them. Firstly they are the one8 who invsded Afghanistan with a lousy pretext like the WMD’s in Iraq. They have killed over half a million innocent Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. HOW CAN WE FORGET SALALA. They are carrying out a Proxy war against us and providing safe Haven’s in Afghanistan by supporting the TTP. Must stand up to them like IRAN and tell them to leave Afghanistan.ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.Recommend

  • Ali S
    Feb 12, 2017 - 10:00PM

    Pakistan has no right to be pointing out American frustrations while its begging hand is outstretched.Recommend

  • ramdar
    Feb 12, 2017 - 11:07PM

    @sam ganiee:
    Have they not tried CONVERSATION with Taliban & given up? Dialogue works with civilized people. Let Taliban fight election, & rule Afghanistan if they win. They wont.
    There are no conclusive results of the fight with Taliban for specific reasons. I wont explain because this comment may not be published.Recommend

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