Operation in North Waziristan – US envoy says army will decide timing


ISLAMABAD – US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has said the US wants Pakistan to launch a military operation in North Waziristan soon but it is up to the leadership of the Pakistan Army to decide when to launch it.
Addressing a press conference on Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review on Friday, Munter said, “The Pakistan Army certainly wants to restore its writ there.” To a question about Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terrorism, Munter said Pakistan had made considerable sacrifices and it should be recognised for them, but there was a lot to be done yet, as the enemy had not been completely defeated.
“The gains in the war against terrorism came at great cost, as Pakistan has endured thousands of casualties in their military ranks and among their civilian population from terrorist attacks. There was also improvement in our security assistance, with increased training cooperation, more support for Pakistan’s military operations, and greater border coordination,” the US envoy said.
Asked if he doubted Pakistan’s will in launching an operation in North Waziristan, he said the US did not doubt Pakistan and “is fully aware that the Pakistan Army currently does not have the capacity to launch the operation”. He said that Pakistan had a legitimate security interest in Afghanistan and it should be recognised in the reconciliation process led by Afghan leadership.
Acknowledging that there was a trust deficit between Pakistan and the US, Munter said efforts were being made to reduce this deficit. He added that the US was committed to a long-term relationship with Pakistan. “We are committed to democratic Pakistan and Pakistan has realised that the Americans are committed to a long-term relationship”, the US ambassador said.
To another question about nuclear cooperation between China and Pakistan, the US envoy said the US would have no objection if China followed international rules regarding nuclear cooperation between the two countries.