Tuesday, 23 January 2018 11:29 GMT
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No unilateral action against Pakistan, says Gen. Votel

(MENAFN - Pajhwok Afghan News) PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): After days of testy exchanges between Washington and Islamabad, the US Central Command (Centcom) chief has ruled out unilateral action against terrorists on 's soil.

Centcom Commander Gen Joseph Votel, assuaging Pakistan's concerns, held out the assurance to Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa during a telephonic conversation last week, the army's media wing said on Friday.

A statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) released the details of Gen Bajwa's recent contacts with the US leaders. The army chief was contacted by Votel and an unnamed US senator.

The contacts were apparently aimed at defusing tensions sparked by President Donald Trump's New Year Day tweet, accusing Pakistan of deceiving the US in return for massive assistance.

Last week, the State Department announced suspending nearly all security assistance to Pakistan for its failure to crack down on terrorist groups blamed for attacking US and Afghan forces.

Gen Bajwa, according to the ISPR statement, told the Centcom chief that Pakistan would press on with counterterrorism operations without financial support from the Trump administration.

Gen. Votel conveyed Bajwa three concrete messages: The problems in relations were temporary; there would be no unilateral action against Pakistan and the US did not want a disruption in ties.

The Centcom chief recognised Pakistan had already taken action against some of the militant groups that were of concern to the US. He also acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan.

He also conveyed COAS that US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in US view, use Pakistan's soil against

For his part, Gen. Bajwa told Votel the 'entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed' over the US statements. However, he insisted, Pakistan would continue to support peace efforts in the region despite being made a scapegoat.

The ISPR spokesman said that during the conversation with Votel, General Bajwa noted Pakistan was fully aware of U.S. concerns about the activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and that steps were being taken to counter them.
According to VOA, a US Central Command spokesman confirmed Votel's contact with Bajwa.
"U.S. Central Command is in continuous communication with the Pakistan military, including recurring conversations between General Votel and Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Bajwa," a statement said. "We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward."

Pakistan will continue its antiterrorism efforts as well as support for peace efforts in Afghanistan. Gen Bajwad added.

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