COAS warns US against growing Indian role in Afghanistan

Published: August 23, 2017
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US Ambassador David Hale meets army chief General Qamar Bajwa at the GHQ in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. PHOTO: ISPR

US Ambassador David Hale meets army chief General Qamar Bajwa at the GHQ in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. PHOTO: ISPR

ISLAMABAD: The army chief has apprised the US envoy of Pakistan’s reservations over giving India an enhanced role in Afghanistan, besides reiterating that Pakistan does not need financial assistance from Washington, but simply its trust and acknowledgement for the sacrifices rendered in the fight against terrorism.

The envoy, David Hale, visited General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Wednesday to brief General Qamar Javed Bajwa about the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

In his speech, President Trump targeted Pakistan for ‘not doing enough’ to deal with certain militant outfits including the Afghan Taliban. Trump said Pakistan had to change that approach or face the consequences.

Trump tough talk unlikely to move Pakistan

Reports from Washington suggest that the US may revoke Pakistan’s major non-NATO ally status and cut military and other assistance if the country ‘continues to provide sanctuaries’ to the Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Speaking against the backdrop of this development, the army chief informed the US envoy that Pakistan did not need any financial assistance from Washington.

“We are not looking for any material or financial assistance from the US but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions,” he was quoted as saying by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

He pointed out that peace in Afghanistan was as important for Pakistan as for any other country, dismissing assertions that the country was a spoiler.

“We have done a lot towards that end and shall keep on doing our best, not to appease anyone, but in line with our national interest and national policy,” General Qamar stressed.

Pakistan ‘disappointed’ by US reliance on ‘false narrative’

“Collaboration and synergy of effort between all stakeholders is the key to success in bringing this long-drawn war in Afghanistan to its logical conclusion,” he added.

Ambassador Hale said the “US values Pakistan’s role in the war against terror and is seeking cooperation from Pakistan to resolve the Afghan issue.”

Sources said the army chief conveyed his reservations over the manner in which Pakistan was singled out and held responsible for the mess in Afghanistan. He also reportedly cautioned the US ambassador about the negative implications of giving a formal role to India in Afghan affairs.

Pakistan has long suspected that India is using Afghan soil to create instability. In the past, US administrations were wary of giving any direct role to India, but Trump seems intent on increasing New Delhi’s involvement in Afghanistan.

Pakistan ‘disappointed’ by US reliance on ‘false narrative’

Even American commentators believe this would be a recipe for disaster given the continually high regional tensions between Pakistan and India.

Interestingly, a Trump aide on Tuesday dismissed Pakistan’s concerns about growing Indian involvement in Afghanistan as an ‘excuse’.

“What India is doing in Afghanistan is not a threat to Pakistan. They’re not building military bases. They’re not deploying troops,” the official told journalists on a conference call.

“They’re not doing the things that would constitute encirclement, for lack of a better term, which is one of the things that the Pakistanis complain about,” he added.

World responds to Trump’s new Afghan strategy

The Foreign Office, in its preliminary reaction, expressed disappointment over Trump’s speech for overlooking perennial disputes in South Asia, including the longstanding dispute over Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

A more detailed government response to the new US strategy for Afghanistan is expected today (Thursday) when the National Security Committee, the top decision-making body on national security and foreign policy issues, meets and discusses the evolving situation.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Acorn Guts
    Aug 23, 2017 - 8:32PM

    Clear lack of interest on both sides .. this relationship won’t get any better.Recommend

  • Too anry
    Aug 23, 2017 - 8:52PM

    Why are these Americans now meeting with different Pakistani personals? Is it for damage control? No need to listen to them.Recommend

  • RawalPindi Kid
    Aug 23, 2017 - 10:50PM

    David Paul, is that your real name or some long syllable that no one can pronounce? Anyway, since the terrorism is a military conflict therefore the military has a big say so on its resolution. Kind of like Trump wanted to get out of Afghanistan right away but his generals convinced him to change his views completely. And where does it say that the ambassador is not meeting with the PM of Pakistan? I think Indians just get so scared whenever they see a news story about Pakistan military that you see nothing else. Trump and the US policy is of course wrong to attribute problems in Afgh to Pakistan when they have not been able to wipe out the taliban there. Pakistan has suffered immensely at the hands of the taliban terrorism, so what sense does it make for it to harbor the same? And finally, past US officials have admitted that India is behind the terrorism in Pakistan – so India is harboring them in training, arming and supporting them in Afgh, and that must be dealt with if there is going to be peace in the region.Recommend

  • Powayman
    Aug 24, 2017 - 2:50AM

    Why should Pakistan or the USA have veto rights over who Afghanistan chooses as a friend?Recommend

  • Kamran Azim
    Aug 24, 2017 - 7:37AM

    The US has lost several wars – veitnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and blames others for not doing enough. First practice than preach and stop lecturing. Russia has taken a lead in global politics. Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Aug 24, 2017 - 9:07AM

    @RawalPindi Kid:
    Atleast his name doesn’t end with ButtRecommend

  • Zafar Ahmed
    Aug 24, 2017 - 1:16PM

    What about US providing sanctuaries to the terrorism under Indians, it is all about the evil nexus of India-US & others against Pakistan! Recommend

  • Sumaira
    Aug 24, 2017 - 5:05PM

    @Powayman:
    Because Afghanistan never seeks friends, it seeks allies to help it grab 60% of Pakistan’s territory. That’s why Pakistan will interfere in who Afghanistan chooses alliances with, whether Afghanistan likes it or not.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Aug 24, 2017 - 9:58PM

    Hmmmm, So according to COAS, only Pakistan is permitted to meddle in Afghan affairs!
    Perhaps the COAS forgot that ONLY Afghans are the ones to decide just who their countries friends and enemies are!Recommend

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