ISAF commander nominee: ‘Issue of safe havens in Pakistan need to be addressed’

Published: November 16, 2012
Gen Joseph Dunford says unstable Afghanistan would be of significant risk to Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Gen Joseph Dunford says unstable Afghanistan would be of significant risk to Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP


Gen Joseph Dunford, the nominee for the next Isaf commander in Afghanistan, says he believes the issue of safe havens in Pakistan needs to be addressed.

In his testimony at the Senate Armed Services Committee, which held a session on his nomination, Gen Dunford said that Pakistan has its bets placed on what the long-term commitment of the US to Afghanistan will be, adding that Pakistan’s calculus will change if the US is there beyond 2014.

Gen Dunford was nominated by US President Barack Obama as the next Isaf commander to take over from Gen John Allen.

Gen Allen is currently facing a Department of Defence investigation on emails sent to Jill Kelley, who was allegedly harassed by Paula Broadwell, who had an affair with the now former CIA director David Petraeus.

In response to a question, Gen Dunford said that he would make his assessment on the current US drawdown plans in Afghanistan if confirmed as the ISAF commander. Gen Dunford also said that an unstable Afghanistan would be of significant risk to Pakistan.

On the subject of reconciliation, Gen Dunford said that he would support US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman’s efforts in this regard. “We support any initiative that will bring resolution to conflict in Afghanistan,” he said.

He said that the relationship between India and Pakistan is critical for stability in the region. Gen Dunford said that the ground lines of communication through Pakistan are the most efficient and inexpensive way to get the US’ equipment out of Afghanistan. He said that he was encouraged by the terms of reference signed with Pakistan on November 2.

Dunford said that the issue of IEDs is one that he would need to be decisively engaged in. “Pakistan is the number one area where we need to make progress on IEDs,” he said.

Sen Carl Levin, chairman of the committee, said he was confident that Gen Dunford would be confirmed as the next Isaf commander in Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Polpot
    Nov 16, 2012 - 10:19AM

    ‘Issue of safe havens in Pakistan need to be addressed’
    You mean u need the addresses to send XMas cards?


  • Sexton Blake
    Nov 16, 2012 - 10:59AM

    The US have been destabilizing Afghanistan for 11 years now so they should know all about it.Recommend

  • Enlightened
    Nov 16, 2012 - 11:19AM

    Pakistan should have realised by now that it is better to have a wise enemy than have demons as its friends. Whereas, the so called enemy has never attacked and even offered an olive branch to Pakistan but the TTP demons are bleeding the country to a slow death and others like Afghan Talibans, LeT, JeM, LeJ are waiting in the wings to join their jihadi comrades at an appropriate moment to achieve its objective of imposing sharia by force.


  • Kaddu
    Nov 16, 2012 - 11:35AM

    US + ISAF + NATO + Afghan National Army + police and other security forces + local warlords allied to Karzai together numbers total exceeding 500,000

    They together have the most superior war technology known to man and still they can not defeat 25,000 afghan militants??

    Why not FIRST, win the war in Afghanistan and destroy safe havens there before asking Pakistan to do so.


  • gp65
    Nov 16, 2012 - 12:12PM

    @Polpot: “You mean u need the addresses to send XMas cards?”

    No. Addresses for the drones.


  • Jewcifer
    Nov 16, 2012 - 12:33PM

    But we returned your Raymond Davis. You mean to say there are more?


  • ammar
    Nov 16, 2012 - 1:30PM

    the biggest issue that needs to be adressed is how these terrorists get finances.answer is by selling narcotics.all of which are grown in afghanistan.first of all mr isaf commander adress these safe sources of finance.Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    Nov 16, 2012 - 7:18PM

    Since 2008 we have had Generals Mckiernar, McCrystal, Petraeus, Allan, and now Dunford, supposedly taking charge of the Afghan skirmish. We could hardly call it a war. They all basically say the same things and make the same mistakes, but we keep on being told they are brilliant generals. The trouble is that the same type of candidates are selected for West Point training, and taught the same methods. If mass bombing, heavy troop concentration and mechanization cannot be used effectively, which is virtually impossible in asymmetric warfare, they do not know what to do. Currently, the US is fighting several wars, and/or occupying several countries. One would think that West Point would run courses in diplomacy, tact, and how to make friends, instead of how to lay waste to various countries and kill huge numbers of people. Really, the US should be better at asymmetric warfare than they are. After all they taught the Mujahideen a lot of tricks such as how to make IEDs during the Russian offensive. However, the Russians were smarter than the US. They went home with their tail between their legs after about 10 years. The basic problem we have in Afghanistan is that Generals are really little people who have to do what they are told. They know that after nearly 12 years they cannot win, but their political masters are stubborn, do not listen and it does not bother them that trillions of dollars are being wasted. I do not know what the various Taliban resistance people are planning, but looking at maps in South Asia there appears to be many places they can retreat to. The other aspect to consider is that the average 20 year old Taliban was only 8 years old when the Afghan/Pakistan debacle was started by George Bush and his buddies. It is fairly obvious that new and aggressive Taliban trainees are emerging every year to fight the hated Americans. My sympathies go to the Pakistan Government for this US created disaster, and General Dunford, who cannot win, but has the unenviable job of keeping the lid on this Washington created disaster. Additionally, let us hope that General Dunford does not allow a lover to look at top secret missives?


  • Cautious
    Nov 16, 2012 - 8:41PM

    Safe Havens are a ticking time bomb. If the Haqqani perform some horrendous act who do you think well get the blow back? If that “horrendous act” happens to include massive US casualties who do you think the USA is going to hold responsible. Ask Musharraf what it’s like to meet with the American’s after they have suffered massive casualties – suspect he had to change his underwear after the 911 meeting.


  • Sexton Blake
    Nov 17, 2012 - 6:01AM

    Dear Cautious,
    Without any intention of showing antagonism I am not sure what you mean. For example Pakistan’s President Pervez Mussarraf had nothing to do with 9/11, and closely aligned Pakistan with US security forces. Why should he have been worried about it? I suppose the US can be unpredictable, and will use any excuse to have a war, and one can never be sure what they will do, but I think President Mussarraf was quite safe..


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