News Analysis |
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, while meeting General Joseph L. Votel, the Commander of US Central Command (US CENTCOM), said that Afghanistan is not contributing towards peace in the region as evident by continuous attacks from across the border.
General Votel called on General Bajwa at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi and discussed issues ranging from regional security to Afghanistan and border management. According to the ISPR, COAS reiterated Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the region while vowing to continue working for the sake of the country.
General Votel is here for a two-day visit seen as a precursor to the upcoming visit by James Mattis, US defense secretary.
However, the four-star infantry-general took exceptions to the fact that Afghanistan has not reciprocated, as attacks from across the border continue.General Bajwa’s assertion comes days after Pakistan lost two soldiers in a brazen attack by militants from Afghanistan’s Kunar province on a border check-post in Bajaur Agency.
Pakistan has also advised the US about the futility of force application in the Afghan theater.
While effectively repulsing the attackers, Captain Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham Sher, succumbed to their injuries. The Foreign Office staged a strong protest with the Afghan government and noted with great concern the upsurge in militants’ attacks on Pakistani forces.
Captain, Junaid hailed from Toba Tek Singh; the 24-year old was the only son of his parents. Raham Sher, 27, belonged to Mardan. The two joined the list of combatants who attained martyrdom while defending the country from attacks directed through Afghanistan. In September this year, the 22-year old Lt. Arslan was martyred when a sniper hit him from the Afghan side when he was manning a picket in the Rajgal Valley in Khyber Agency.
Last year, Major Ali Jawad Changezi was martyred indirect shelling from the across the Torkham Border. Major Changezi, an officer from the Armored Corps, could not survive and breathed his last two days after the attack.
The US embassy released a statement in which they said General Votel reiterated the “Administration’s message that Pakistan must prevent all militants from operating within and across its borders.” Both parties despite several high-level meetings on the issue clearly have come to no agreement over ground events. In fact, it is clear that the US sees the meetings as clarifying what the Trump Administration policy is in the region, whereas the Pakistani side is viewing them as finding common ground.
In Pakistan experts, commentators, and practitioners have raised serious question marks on why Afghan soil is being continually used to mount attacks on Pakistan. What’s more noteworthy is that hardcore terrorists, who gloated about attacks in Pakistan including the carnage at the Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014, are still at large in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Office staged a strong protest with the Afghan government and noted with great concern the upsurge in militants’ attacks on Pakistani forces.
Pakistan has time and again pointed out that the US and Afghan forces have failed to rein-in anti-Pakistan elements. While stressing that it will not let the Afghan war on its territory, Pakistan has demanded meaningful action against groups harmful towards Pakistan.
Last week, Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua said that the US has assured Islamabad that Afghan territory will not be allowed to be used against Pakistan. However, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General Nicholas said that Pakistan has not changed its behavior.
After the two infantrymen ended their meeting, General Votel acknowledged the contributions of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. General Votel, with his experience in Special Operations, commands a theater-level and one of the most important commands of the US Army.
Major Changezi, an officer from the Armored Corps, could not survive and breathed his last two days after the attack.
Watchers feel that General Votel must learn lessons from Syria and Iraq, where troops under his command have been unable to attain objectives in those countries. Pakistan has also advised the US about the futility of force application in the Afghan theater. The question is: will the US chase an abstract victory or come on the talking table? The current policy indicates that the US is not in the mood to relinquish the military option.