Pentagon official acknowledges Pakistan’s sacrifices in terror war


ISLAMABAD: A Pentagon official on Thursday night acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror and said that the United States (US) hopes for a better and respectful bilateral relationship with Pakistan.

The official said, “We know about the sacrifices that Pakistan has made in this long war on terror and we don’t take those sacrifices lightly. We value this relationship, we value this partnership.”

The official stressed that since 9/11, Pakistan “was a friend, a supporter, and a key partner in our building to do that and has remained a key partner since”.

Department of Defence’s (DOD) Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Assistant Defence Secretary Randall Schriver said, “This is a day to celebrate your armed forces … It’s also a day to remember those who have sacrificed. And that very much includes the sacrifices made in the war on terror.”

The top US military official also said, “The relationship — military-to-military — is one that has remained in a place where some of the other relationships haven’t.”

Schriver also said, “We were important partners in a number of key areas, including our efforts to degrade Al Qaeda, the efforts to defeat [Daesh], the efforts made to the United Nations in peacekeeping, these are all areas where we cooperated and are achieving results and success.”

Commenting on Pompeo’s visit, the DOD said that the US secretary of state “emerged from that visit with very hopeful words, he said every conversation he had, every interaction, he had a sense of hope that we are on a better path”.

“We are very heartened by that. We look forward to building on the momentum that that visit created,” he added.

The official also said that the countries’ top military official maintain close ties and added, “We, at the Department of Defence, feel as though our relationship with Gen Qamar [Bajwa] is the bedrock and the real pillar of US-Pakistan relations.”

“I see that with Secretary [Jim] Mattis, General Dunford, General [Joseph] Votel; they all have personal ties, personal relationships, people they can pick up the phone and call, and those are relationships that are developed over years and years of interaction,” he explained.

“While we may have some differences in some areas, we jealously guard that role as being the bedrock of this relationship and we will continue to promote very good quality interactions between the US military, Department of Defence, and the armed forces of Pakistan,” he also added.

He also said that he was honoured to be invited to an event that “recognizes the sacrifices, recognizes the shared interest and all the important work we have going forward”.

Schriver concluded by thanking Ambassador Ali Jahangir Siddiqui and Chief Of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.