Pakistan, US trade blame over cross-border terrorism

Islamabad,(IANS) Top Pakistani and US military commanders have blamed each other for not doing enough to stop cross-border terrorism, the media reported on Friday.

The two-day visit of US Central Command (Centcom) Commander General Joseph Votel, in which he held meetings with senior Pakistani military commanders, including Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, reinforced the perception that Pakistan and the US had not been able to narrow their trust deficit despite a series of high-level meetings, reports Dawn news.

Votel’s trip, which was his fourth to Islamabad, was believed to be a preparatory visit for the upcoming trip of US Defence Secretary James Mattis, who is expected to visit Pakistan next month.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that Bajwa told Votel on Thursday that Pakistan’s committed efforts for peace in Afghanistan were not being reciprocated. He pointed towards the latest cross-border attack on a Pakistani post in Bajaur in which two soldiers were killed.

Votel “stressed the Administration’s message that Pakistan must prevent all militants from operating within and across its borders”.

It was essentially the reiteration of the demand for action against the alleged “safe havens”, the ISPR said.

Pakistan and the US have had a series of meetings to bridge their differences since President Donald Trump’s remarks on the new US policy for the region and Afghanistan in which he bitterly criticised Pakistan for “insincerity” in fight against terrorism while getting billions of dollars from America.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said efforts were continuing “to bridge the gap between the perceptions of the two countries in the wake of Trump’s South Asia and Afghanistan policy, and to arrive at a consensus on moving forward and exploring avenues of cooperation between both sides”, Dawn reported.

He noted that Pakistan was “actively engaged in dialogue with the US at all levels, and believes that dialogue is the best way forward to enhance cooperation between the two sides”.

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