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Pak-US military cooperation continues

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and the United States have agreed to continue
respective military operations at both sides of the Pak-Afghan border
until the cross-border incursions are completely dealt with, informed
officials said.
According to intelligence
sources, Pakistan would continue to conduct targeted operations in its
tribal belt as a part of its renewed military cooperation with the US
that allows military offensives at both sides of Pak-Afghan border.
During the Friday meeting between Pakistan’s military chief General
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General
James Mattis, both the sides have reportedly decided to continue with
taking on militant sanctuaries in the borderlands and target
identification of militants in North Waziristan through ISI-CIA
cooperation.
The development is likely to
diffuse pressure on Pakistan to launch a large-scale offensive in NWA
following hot-pursuits and crackdowns lately conducted by Pakistan Army
in NWA and its adjoining tribal belt. During Eid days, Pakistani
security forces reportedly launched search operations in Miranshah, the
headquarters of NWA, and captured some militant leaders. In retaliation,
the powerful militant commander in NWA Hafiz Gul Bahadur has warned
Pakistani government of cancelling an informal ceasefire that he struck
with the Pakistani military sometime back.
During
Mattis-Kayani meeting, the military commands of both the states were
reported to have fixed mutual responsibility for terrorism export from
Pakistani soil to Afghanistan and vice versa. This implies handing over
the militants involved in cross-border incursions who are wanted by Nato
or the security agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
When
approached, the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
Military Spokesperson in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Carsten
Jacobson did not specifically comment on Pak-US enhanced military
cooperation. He said the Isaf’s mandate in Afghanistan allowed,
“Foolproof and durable security environment that can only be achieved
when everybody stands up for the elimination of extremism.”
Brigadier
General Jacobson said the killings of militants in the military
operation were “A remarkably significant sign for a peaceful
Afghanistan.” He expressed these views in a web-based voice conversation
with this newspaper from Kabul on Saturday.
Pakistan’s
military and Nato oversee separate military offensives at both sides of
Pak-Afghan borders that cover Chitral, Upper Dir, Khyber Agency and
parts of North and South Waziristan in Pakistan while Khost, Paktika,
Kunar, Nuristan and Paktia in Afghanistan.
Last
month, Pakistan had agreed targeted operations to hunt down militants
without launching a full-scale operation in NWA following the US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top US military and intelligence
officials visit to Pakistan. This followed an evident increase in the
drone-hits.
Responding hard to the CIA
drone-hits and Pakistan military’s search operations in NWA, Hafiz Gul
Bahadur is quoted by a foreign news agency to have said in a statement,
“We have been showing patience because of problems being faced by common
people but now the government has also resorted to repression on our
common people at the behest of foreigners,” the statement was circulated
across NWA on Thursday and Friday.
TheNation
had reported last Sunday that the informal agreement regarding enhanced
intelligence and military cooperation arrived at during Clinton’s visit
to Pakistan embedded a contextual understanding that envisaged a halt
in drone strikes, for the time being though, during Eid days since
surgical strikes and resultant causalities during that time period would
amount to strong public resentment against the US and embarrassment for
Pakistan’s establishment for its inability to get these attacks
stopped. “Whatever the hidden agreements between the Pakistan and the US
be, the tribal people must not suffer. We want a peaceful and
prosperous living. That’s all we want,” tribal chieftain in NWA Noor
Alam Jan Utmanzai told TheNation.

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