Political, military ties with US improving: Naveed Qamar

1
56

Defense Minister Naveed Qamar said Pakistan’s political and military ties with the United States (US) are on an upswing after nearly two years of setbacks and crises.
Qamar said bilateral understanding had also improved between the two countries on how to counter terrorism in Pakistani border regions and promote political reconciliation in neighbouring Afghanistan. Bilateral cooperation has been gradually improving since July when Pakistan unblocked NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. The latest demonstration of normalising ties came earlier this month when the Obama administration notified Congress it would reimburse nearly $700 million to Islamabad for the cost of conducting anti-terrorism operations on the Afghan border.
In an interview, Qamar said his country hoped the US would soon release other promised military aid to keep the momentum going. “Things have improved to quite an extent and I would venture out to say that we are back to where we were sometime back, where there is a constant cooperation between the two countries at various levels, political, military, intelligence and so on,” Qamar said. Pakistan had been receiving around $2 billion in annual security assistance from the US, including military reimbursements.
These payments had been held up because of diplomatic tensions over the US raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden, and the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a cross border NATO air-strike in November 2011. That incident had provoked Pakistan to block NATO supply lines and halt all anti-terror cooperation with the US. For its part, the US has been critical of Pakistan’s refusal to mobilise troops against bases of the Haqqani network in the North Waziristan border region, a safe militant haven being used for cross-border insurgent attacks in Afghanistan. The defense minister said there was now a better understanding in Washington of his country’s reservations about an all-out war against Islamist militants on its soil. “In terms of when to do what, it is best left to those who are on the ground so that they can make a good judgment of whether a particular operation will be productive or counter-productive. We do see the US moving closer to the Pakistani position but we need to work hand-in-hand to be able to come to the ultimate objective of weeding out terrorism,” said Qamar.

1 COMMENT

  1. The new shift in army's threat perception is to my mind going to fit in very well in US scheme of things. That may also have to do with the improved state of relations. Homegrown threat is no doubt a major threat at the moment and a for a long time to come. Situation called for serious steps particularly before the impending departure of USA from Afghanistan. The change may also be an indication that Pakistan has tailored its ambition for a role in Afghanistan after the departure of occupation forces. I

Comments are closed.