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Pakistan’s recent counter-terrorism steps positive, not decisive: Gen. Votel

Pakistan’s recent counter-terrorism steps positive, not decisive: Gen. Votel

Feb 28, 2018 - 15:48

WASHINGTON: Commander of the US Central Command Gen. Joe Votel has said positive indicators from Pakistan’s military have started to come in the war against terrorism, a media report said on Wednesday.

The top US general expressed the view at times when the US had already suspended military aid to the non-NATO ally.

Relations between Pakistan and the US have been tense since Trump lashed out at Islamabad last August, upbraiding it for sheltering “agents of chaos.”, according to the Arab News.
In January, he ordered the suspension of US military aid to Pakistan, saying it was not doing enough to target the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani insurgent group.
“We are now beginning to see positive indicators,” General Joe Votel, who heads the US military’s Central Command, told the House Armed Services Committee.
“Through their communications, they’re reporting to us some of the actions that they are taking on the ground. ... It does not yet equal the decisive action that we would like to see them take, in terms of a strategic shift, but they are positive indicators, and it gives me hope that our approach is the right one.”
US officials believe Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency and other military bodies have long helped fund and arm the Taliban for ideological reasons, but also to counter rising Indian influence in Afghanistan, whose government is backed by the US.
Islamabad denies those allegations.
Votel said cooperation with Pakistan is key to attaining success in the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, where thousands of extra US troops are due to begin training Afghan counterparts this spring.
The Centcom commander said he speaks routinely with his Pakistan counterpart.
“I can’t characterize the relationship as trustful at this particular point. There is a lot of history here that has to be overcome,” he said.
Votel said 64 percent of the Afghan population is controlled by the Afghan government, 12 percent by the Taliban, with the rest living in “contested areas.”