Ali Haider Gilani’s rescue shows growing effectiveness of Afghan security forces: Ashton Carter

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The operation that rescued former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son from a militant hideout in Afghanistan demonstrates the growing effectiveness of the Afghan security forces in the fight against extremists, says US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.

The US worked with the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to bring Ali Haider Gilani home, a Pentagon statement quoted Carter as saying. He underwent a medical evaluation before he was returned to Pakistan.

The raid on the hideout of Al Qaeda operatives “demonstrates the growing capabilities and effectiveness of the Afghan security forces,” Carter said.

It was also “an excellent example of the strong security and intelligence partnership between Afghan and US forces under Operation Freedom’s Sentinel”, he said.

The US forces would continue to work alongside their Afghan partners to “make it clear that there is no safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan”, Carter said.

“I want to commend the US Special Operations personnel and the Afghan special operations forces for the professionalism and skill they demonstrated in the raid.”

In a separate statement, the US State Department congratulated Yousuf Gilani and his family on the safe return of his son.

“While we celebrate Ali Haider Gilani’s rescue, we continue to be concerned for all those being held hostage in the region, including US citizens, and we call for their immediate and unconditional release,” a State Department spokesperson said.