Army chief to be greeted with far less 'skepticism' in US than predecessor: report

Published: November 15, 2014
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Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. PHOTO: ONLINE

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. PHOTO: ONLINE

Army chief General Raheel Sharif’s first official visit to the United States this weekend is believed to strengthen trust between the two countries, according to The Washington Post.

The report cited an improved environment with an upward trajectory of Pakistan-US relations in light of the full-scale military offensive launched against militants in North Waziristan, that has now extended to Khyber Agency as well.

Referring to the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb against militants in North Waziristan, The Washington Post noted US officials’ statements regarding the offensive boosting their confidence in Pakistan’s commitment to combat terrorism within its borders and the operation’s success in disrupting militant groups.

“That’s based pretty much on the Pakistan ops in North Waziristan this entire summer-fall,” Lt-Gen Joseph Anderson, a senior commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan said in a video conference from the Afghan capital, claiming that the Haqqani network has been fractured by the operation.

“That has very much disrupted their efforts here and has caused them to be less effective in terms of their ability to pull off an attack here in Kabul.”

The army chief’s week-long trip coincides with growing optimism that relations among the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan are improving as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is currently visiting Pakistan.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have a historic opportunity to reset long-fraught ties following the election of democratic governments in both countries, the United States’ top diplomat in Islamabad said on November 12.

“I think there is quite genuinely a basis for a new relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both sides are aware of this historical moment and making efforts to seize it,” Richard Olson said in a speech at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad.

As Ghani, unlike his predecessor Hamid Karzai, struck a positive note at the start of his maiden visit, the Pakistan military said the security of the two countries was ‘inextricably linked’ with each other.

The highlight of Ghani’s engagements on the first day of his trip was a visit to the GHQ in Rawalpindi soon after landing in Islamabad – an unprecedented move since it is rare that a visiting head of state stops over at the military headquarters. The visit appears to underline efforts from the two sides as they enter a new ‘era of cooperation’.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Parvez
    Nov 15, 2014 - 2:32PM

    …..and it works every time.

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  • Rohit Sen (singapore)
    Nov 15, 2014 - 3:00PM

    Given the way border skirmishes is being used to make points by India, China and Pakistan.. a) China allegedly doing that doing its premier’s visit to China to make a point b) Perhaps Pakistan doing it when Modi was in the USA to make the point that Kashmir is still a key issue and world shouldn’t forget that while engaging india’s new leader… It’s perhaps india’s turn to create border issue so that it becomes a controversial matter in what should be smooth discussion… Just my speculation.. I could be wrong!!

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  • sam
    Nov 15, 2014 - 4:40PM

    Im sure it doesnt go well with the indians.

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  • Whiskey Khan
    Nov 15, 2014 - 4:50PM

    General Raheel has proved to be worthy of his uniform, I admire him for his courage and vision. We can never be thankful enough to the armed forces of Pakistan for the sacrifice they have given to keep Pakistani safe. Sir I salute You

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  • Purist an
    Nov 15, 2014 - 5:23PM

    All the US & the whole world cares is the threat of militancy for their rest of the countries. The Chinese want xinjiang militants, US / Europe want Qaeda, Afghans want Afghan Taliban, Iran wants jundullah, Tajikistan & former USSR wants Uzbek / Chechen / tazik militants, Indians want LeT, but the whole world is dependent on Pakistan.

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  • unbelievable
    Nov 15, 2014 - 6:05PM

    Less skepticism maybe step in right direction … but anyone would be a fool to think that the USA doesn’t retain considerable skepticism about Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terror. USA motto has remained the same – judge Pakistan based on action rather than words.

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  • Striver
    Nov 15, 2014 - 7:13PM

    If truth be told, the US is only interested in the “Haqqani Network” it couldn’t give toss about others. So, if Pak Army only went for militants we are directly affected by e.g. TTP, the whole operation is a “failure” for the USA.

    Pakistan has played its cards well so far. This is how the game is played on the world stage. Maintaining their proximity to the militants whilst negotiating with the Afghans and Americans. Of course we will be cursed for it because it doesn’t suit them. But it suit us, no body else is going to look after our interests.

    As for the Indians, in the next 18 months they will sitting at home wondering where did they go wrong. This is pre-determined. I don’t know why the Indians cannot see the writing on the wall.

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  • tauseef rasheed
    Nov 15, 2014 - 7:46PM

    This is a good start as Pakistan and Afghanistan are natural partners and must nourish this partnership of friendship by replacing mistrust with confidence measures and ensuring each others territory is not against both the neighbours. But this new beginning needs careful handling from both sides and no enemies be allowed to sabotage the relations between two brotherly nations.

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  • AnisAqeel
    Nov 15, 2014 - 8:54PM

    @Purist an:
    ” but the whole world is dependent on Pakistan”.
    Respectfully, it is the other way round, currently Pakistan is dependent on the whole world. We need and are dependent even on Afghanistan, a tiny weak and infested with terrorism.
    The only way the whole world may be dependent on Pakistan is to get rid of terrorism, fanaticism, fundamentalism and religious extremism. Get rid of political and religious extremist leaders and due to geographical boundaries China, Afghanistan, Iran and a number of USSR countries will be dependent on Pakistan and India will beg to solve Kashmir issue by themselves. There is no solution to Kashmir unless we are economically stronger in the whole region like China.

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  • JSM
    Nov 16, 2014 - 8:20PM

    @sam:
    Ghani visitong GHQ is like Nawaz visiting Pentagon duirng trip to USA. How would you like that.

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  • Bil
    Nov 18, 2014 - 5:22PM

    “far less skepticism”, so there is still skepticism, its just less, right?

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