Pentagon hopeful of Pakistan ties

 

 

WASHINGTON, April 4: Pakistani people have been victims of “devastatig” acts of terror and  Pakistan and the United States share a common cause in curbing al-Qaeda linked groups operating in the region, the Pentagon said.
 Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Defense George Little also acknowledged Pakistan’s counterterrorism cooperation along the Afghan border.
 “The Pakistanis have been the victims of very devastating violence inflicted by terrorists, so we share a common cause in thwarting al-Qaida and otherterrorist groups that are operating in the region,” he said.
 The United States, he said, will continue to “try to work closely with ourPakistani counterparts to prevent terrorist attacks against Pakistani interests,against American interests and those of our allies.”
 Little spoke at a briefing as the Parliament in Islamabad weighed in onways to make the relationship work in a way that respects Pakistan’s sovereignty.

The parliamentary debate takes place in the backdrop of a spate of incidents
including November 26, 2011 cross-border NATO attacks on Pakistani border posts
that killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers and seriously undermined the
relationship.  
     
   But the Pentagon official sounded hopeful that the United States and
Pakistan can overcome challenges in their relationship and forge greater
cooperation including re-opening of key Pakistani routes that transport supplies to
sustain U.S.-led international forces in landlocked Afghanisan.
 “The relationship with Pakistan remains very important to the United States
and we’re always looking for ways to explore further cooperation.  And it’s
important to recognize that cooperation does continue on a variety of fronts, and
that includes the issue of counterterrorism and also coordination along the border
with Afghanistan,” Little said.
 “So we think that we are — the relationship is settling and, even though
we’ve been through a rocky period, we can get through it,” the Press Secretary
responded to a question. 
 The Pentagon commented as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides
visited Islamabad to stress mutually beneficial cooperation. On the eve of the
visit, the U.S. State Department announced a bounty of $ 10 million for Hafiz
Saeed, chief of Jama’at ud Dawa, for his alleged role in 2008 Mumbai bombings
 With respect to re-opening of Pakistani ground supply routes into
Afghanistan, Little said, “we remain hopeful that those routes will be reopened in
the near future, and discussions with the Pakistanis continue on a range of
issues.”
 Little was also asked to clarify Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks
in an interview that Pakistan considered India a threat.
 In response, the Pentagon official said the United States recognizes
historic South Asian tensions and will work to prevent these tensions – between
Pakistan and India – from besetting the region with unintended consequences.
 “I’m not going to get into private discussions that the secretary may or
may not have had at various points,” he commented.
 “But everyone recognizes that there have been tensions in that region for
some time. We recognize those, and we believe that — and to the extent that we can
do so, we will — we’ll try to forge our greater cooperation to prevent unintended
consequences of historic tensions from creating greater conflict,” he added.
 
Source : MGCT, US Department of Defense,   By Ali Imran
 
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