Posts Tagged ‘tribal areas’

Two dead in militant attack on Afghan govt office: officials

July 11, 2018

Gunmen stormed an education department compound in Afghanistan’s restive east Wednesday and were battling security forces in an ongoing attack that has left at least two people dead, officials said.

Five others have been wounded in the second attack in Jalalabad city in as many days and a number of employees were trapped inside the building, Nangarhar provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

© AFP | Map of Afghanistan locating attack in Jalalabad

Security forces were trying to clear the militants from the compound and rescue the workers. It was not clear how many gunmen or employees were inside.

A security guard employed by the department was among the dead, Khogyani said.

Jalalabad health director Najibullah Kamawal confirmed five wounded people had been brought to hospital so far.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the raid.

Nangarhar’s provincial capital has seen an uptick in violence in recent weeks, with the Islamic State group claiming most of the attacks.

On Tuesday, a suicide attack in the city killed at least 12 people and ignited a nearby petrol station, with witnesses describing screaming victims “swallowed” by flames.

The bomber was targeting Afghan security forces when he blew himself up. Ten civilians were among the dead.

IS claimed that attack via its Amaq propaganda agency.

The group has claimed a series of high-casualty suicide bomb attacks in the province in recent weeks, as US and Afghan forces continue offensive operations against the group.

While the Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group, IS has a relatively small but potent presence, mainly in the north and east of the country.

Wednesday’s attack comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani flew to Brussels to attend a NATO summit where he will be hoping to get a greater commitment from members to the nearly 17-year conflict.

Currently, there are about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, providing the main component of the NATO mission there to support and train local forces.

The attack also coincides with the start of a university entrance exam for more than 16,000 students in Jalalabad, but it was not clear if the two events were linked.

The attack comes exactly a month after militants raided the education department in the city.

In that incident a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the department, triggering a fierce battle between gunmen and security forces.

At least 10 people were wounded after terrified employees jumped out of the windows.

A recent ceasefire between Afghan security forces and the Taliban during the Islamic holiday Eid had raised hopes that an end to hostilities in the war-weary country was possible.

Since then, however, the Taliban has returned to the battlefield and IS, which was not involved in the truce, has continued to carry out deadly attacks.

Nangarhar borders Pakistan, which has been under growing US pressure to crack down on extremist groups operating in the country.

Pakistan has long been accused of supporting the Afghan Taliban and providing safe haven to its leaders, charges Islamabad denies.

Pakistan, in return, has accused Afghanistan of sheltering the Pakistani Taliban.

AFP

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Pakistan election rally suicide bomb toll climbs to 20

July 11, 2018

 The death toll in a suicide bombing at an election rally in northwestern Pakistan rose to 20 Wednesday as Taliban militants claimed responsibility, officials said, in the first major attack ahead of July 25 polls.

A local leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Haroon Bilour, was among those killed in the attack in the city of Peshawar late Tuesday, officials have confirmed.

© AFP | Pakistani security officials at the site of Tuesday’s election rally suicide bombing in Peshawar

The party has been targeted by Islamist militants in the past over its vocal opposition to extremist groups like the Taliban.

The bombing came hours after the Pakistan military spokesman said there were security threats ahead of national elections.

“The death toll has risen to 20 and 63 others were wounded, out of whom 35 are still admitted in two Peshawar hospitals,” Peshawar police chief Qazi Jameel told AFP.

Peshawar hospital official Zulfiqar Babakhel confirmed the updated death toll.

Bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik told AFP that the suicide bomber — who he said was around 16 years old — had eight kilogrammes of explosives and three kilogrammes of pellets, ball bearings and other shrapnel on his body.

Peshawar lawyers went on strike on Wednesday to protest and mourn the death of Haroon, who was also a barrister. Local traders also announced a strike and mourners thronged to Bilour’s residence to offer condolences.

Bilour was one of the ANP’s election candidates and belonged to an influential political family in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital.

His father Bashir Bilour, one of the ANP’s top leaders, was also killed by a suicide bomber in 2012.

Police said the bomber struck when Bilour was about to address some 200 supporters.

Mohammad Khorasani, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militant group, claimed the responsibility for the attack.

“Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s mujahid (holy fighter) Abdul Karim last night carried out a suicide attack on important ANP leader Haroon Bilour in which he has been killed,” Khorasani said in a statement.

He said the militants “have already declared a war” on the ANP and called on the public to keep away from them, “or you will be responsible for your own loss”.

Peshawar city is considered a gateway to Pakistan’s troubled semi-autonomous tribal regions, where many militant groups — including al Qaeda — operated until the government launched operations to oust them.

Militants have targeted politicians, religious gatherings, security forces and even schools in Peshawar.

But security across Pakistan, including in Peshawar, has dramatically improved since government and military operations in recent years.

Analysts warn however that Pakistan has yet to tackle the root causes of extremism.

AFP

Pakistan, US to work towards peace in Afghanistan

July 4, 2018

Pakistan and the United States on Tuesday agreed to remain engaged for peace in Afghanistan.

This was agreed during a meeting between US Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa at the General Headquarters.

“Both reaffirmed the commitment towards the common goal of peace and stability in the region and discussed measures towards that end. Both also agreed on continued engagement at multiple levels,” the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement.

American official Alice Wells meets Gen Bajwa

Amb Wells was on a three-day visit to Pakistan to again seek Pakistani authorities’ help for the Afghan peace process. She met Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa and Chief of the General Staff Lt Gen Bilal Akbar.

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US Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa at the General Headquarters.

She also met business leaders and ambassadors from other embassies in Islamabad.

During her visit to Kabul, which preceded the Islamabad trip, Amb Wells said Taliban’s refusal to join the political process was “unacceptable”. She had further accused the “Taliban ….who are not residing in Afghanistan” of being obstacle to the peace talks. She was apparently referring to Pakistan-based Taliban against whom the US has long asked for action.

During her meetings, she reminded her interlocutors of Pakistan’s commitment to take action against all terrorist groups that might be found on its territory. “Ambassador Wells discussed Pakistan’s stated commitment to eliminating all terrorist groups present within its borders,” the US embassy said in an apparent reference to the Taliban elements claimed to be present in Pakistan.

The embassy said that Amb Wells’ discussion was consistent with the Trump administration’s South Asia and Afghanistan strategy. The strategy announced last year signalled that Washington might take coercive steps to push Pakistan to crack down against the Taliban and Haqqani network.

The US strategy for the region had aggravated an already tense bilateral relationship with Pakistan. The two sides have since then been unable to put their ties on an even keel despite an extensive engagement. However, lately both sides took steps that led to hopes of improvement in the relationship. The Pakistan Army last month reaffirmed its commitment to seeing the US exit Afghanistan after winning the protracted war. The US, meanwhile, eliminated Afghanistan-based terrorist Mullah Fazlullah, whose capture or elimination was long demanded by Pakistan.

The ceasefire between Afghan warring factions further raised hopes of a peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict. But, things are again turning for worse in Afghanistan where the Taliban resumed fighting immediately after Eid and the Afghan government order resumption of counter-terrorism operations last weekend.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2018

For more live updates, follow Dawn.com’s official news Instagram account@dawn.today

https://www.dawn.com/news/1417812/pakistan-us-to-work-towards-peace-in-afghanistan

Pakistan: Intelligence-based operation kills six terrorists near Afghanistan

June 23, 2018

Six suspected terrorists were killed in an intelligence-based operation carried out by security forces in the Ladha region of South Waziristan, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press statement said on Saturday.

Image result for South Waziristan, map

The operation, carried out under the broader Operation Raddul Fassad, was carried out on intelligence reports that militants had entered the area along with returning TDPs (temporarily displaced persons).

Among those killed by the forces was a “high-value target” identified as Nanakar, who is said to be involved in the killing of locals.

Two hawaldars, Razzaq Khan and Mumtaz Hussain, were martyred in an exchange of fire that took place during the operation.

According to the ISPR press release, the suspected terrorists had been in contact with a militant network in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. Weapons, ammunition and communication equipment have been recovered from them.

For more live updates, follow Dawn.com’s official news Instagram account@dawn.today

https://www.dawn.com/news/1415648/6-suspected-terrorists-killed-in-south-waziristan-military-operation

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US official reminds Pakistan it’s still on notice

June 22, 2018
US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells acknowledges during a congressional hearing that Pakistan “has an important role to play and has legitimate interests” in Afghanistan.
US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells acknowledges during a congressional hearing that Pakistan “has an important role to play and has legitimate interests” in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON: The United States has reminded Pakistan that it’s still on notice to eliminate all terrorist sanctuaries from its territory, although relations between the two countries show some signs of improvement.

The reminder — conveyed by US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells at a congressional hearing on Wednesday — re-emphasises the point that Washington never fails to mention the need for Pakistan to eliminate terrorism.

Take a look: In tit-for-tat move, Pakistan imposes travel restrictions on US diplomats

“Pakistan is on notice that we expect its unequivocal cooperation ending sanctuaries that the Taliban have enjoyed since the remnants of their toppled regime fled into Pakistan in 2001,” said Ms Wells while reviewing one year of the Trump administration’s South Asia Strategy.

Islamabad has rejected such American allegations and urged Washington not to blame it for failures

In a New Year Day message this year, President Donald Trump too had put Pakistan on notice, accusing it of “taking billions and billions of dollars” from the United States while “housing the same terrorists” that it was supposed to fight. And a few days after the speech, Washington suspended more than two billion dollars of security aid to Pakistan.

Pakistan has rejected these allegations as unfounded and has urged Washington not to blame Islamabad for its failures in Afghanistan.

In her testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on “US policy toward Afghanistan”, Ms Wells acknowledged that the policy of coercing Pakistan into accepting US demands had not been very successful.

“Despite some positive indicators, we have not yet seen Pakistan take the sustained or decisive steps that we would have expected to see ten months after the announcement of the (Trump administration’s) South Asia strategy,” she said.

The senior US official acknowledged that Pakistan “has an important role to play and has legitimate interests” in Afghanistan, which “it wants to ensure are met during any peace process”.

The United States, she said, was not only aware of Pakistan’s interests but was also willing to work with Islamabad to ally its concerns.

“The dialogue that we have with Pakistan seeks to address those concerns while also encouraging additional concrete support for Afghan peace efforts,” she said.

Her statement indicates that the Trump administration has reached the same conclusion that their predecessors had after years of engagement in Afghanistan — it’s an unwinnable war.

“Of course, the Taliban remain a resilient foe. Afghan forces are still labouring to regain control of large areas of rural Afghanistan,” Ms Wells said.

“Equally – if not more troubling – IS Khorasan has increased the pace and scope of its attacks against urban targets, often with a devastating civilian toll”.

The US official noted that the attacks had increasingly focused on ethnic and religious minorities, and were clearly aimed at stoking sectarian and political tensions to undermine popular support for a peace process.

Ms Wells identified four key areas where the US was working to help bolster prospects for an eventual settlement: Supporting Afghan efforts to reduce violence and protect a peace process from spoilers, encouraging all political actors — including the Taliban — to participate in the peace process, supporting Kabul’s efforts to eliminate the conditions that cause militancy and encouraging Afghanistan’s close and distant neighbours to back the peace process.

For Pakistan, she had a clearer message: work with the US to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table and arrest or expel those Taliban elements that do not join the peace process.

“More broadly, all of Afghanistan’s neighbours — from Iran and Russia, to India, China, and the Central Asian states — have repeatedly stated their support for an Afghan peace process,” said Ms Well, counting this among the indicators of success of the Trump administration’s Afghan policy.

Unfortunately, in the past such indicators did not lead to real peace in Afghanistan, which has been in a state of war for more than three decades now.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018

For more live updates, follow Dawn.com’s official news Instagram account@dawn.today

https://www.dawn.com/news/1415320

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Leader Believed Killed in U.S. Drone Strike

June 15, 2018

WASHINGTON: A US drone targeted and, apparently, killed the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mullah Fazlullah in the Afghan province of Kunar, media reports and US defence sources said on Thursday.

The Voice of America radio reported that a US military official confirmed to its correspondents that a US drone strike had “targeted the TTP leader in an Afghan province near the border with Pakistan”.

The official US radio also quoted unconfirmed reports from the target area as claiming that Mullah Fazlullah had been killed.

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Mullah Fazlullah

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the strike was carried out late Wednesday and the TTP chief was its target but he also said that he could not confirm if he was killed.

A spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan, Army Lt Col Martin O’Donnell, told VOA that “US forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organisation.”

Pentagon officials, when asked to comment on the VoA report, said they were not yet in a position to confirm if decline if the strike was successful.

The strike comes amid a seven-day ceasefire between the Afghan Taliban and government security forces to allow Afghan citizens to observe the last days of Ramazan and Eid peacefully.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1414329

Pakistan passes law to align tribal region with rest of country — Part of ending safe havens for Afghan Taliban

May 26, 2018

By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s parliament on Thursday passed legislation to merge the country’s tribal regions along the Afghan border with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a key step to ending the region’s much-criticized colonial era governance system.

While security in the restive region has improved, for years Islamist militants including the Taliban and al Qaeda have used Waziristan and its surrounding tribal areas to train and launch attacks in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, in part because the region has no government writ.

As a result, the region is central to efforts by Washington, Islamabad and others to combat militants.

Image result for tribal areas, pakistan, map

The semi-autonomous region consists of seven big district and six towns known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and has been governed for over 150 years by colonial era tribal laws.

Rights groups have long argued that residents of FATA to have the same laws as the rest of Pakistan, pointing out that the use of collective punishment and other colonial-era laws against local people tramples basic rights.

“The law this parliament passed today will, God willing, bring positive results,” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said after the 372 member house adopted the amendment with a 229 votes majority supported by ruling and opposition parties.

He said the region will be governed with rights equal to other parts of the country.

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The reform bill was delayed for years mainly due to political wrangling but has long been demanded by the local population.

Abbasi said local elections in the region would be held this year to kick start a political process and said future governments will spend 100 billion rupees ($865 million) a year for a decade on development.

Over the past decade Pakistan’s military has launched several operations in FATA, displacing many people now forced to live in camps in districts just outside the tribal regions.

(Writing by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

Reuters

Pakistan Chief Justice Says Killing of Ethnic Minority Hazara “Tantamount to Genocide”

May 11, 2018

Advocate Iftikhar Ali, who was representing the Hazara community, lamented that targeted killings of the ethnic minority have been going on for 20 years, yet not a single arrest has been made.

Image result for Hazara people, pakistan, photos

Hazara people

 

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday said that the Hazara killings in Balochistan are tantamount to genocide, which is why the court took a suo motu notice of the targeted attacks.

A two-member Supreme Court (SC) bench, comprising Justice Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, was hearing a suo motu case regarding the targeted killing of the Hazara community in Quetta. The CJP had taken a suo motu notice after the Hazara community staged a protest against the recent increase in targeted attacks that killed at least five people within a month.

“In my opinion, this [Hazara killing] is equivalent to genocide,” said Justice Nisar. “We have to protect the lives and property of the [people of the] Hazara community.”

Image result for Hazara people, pakistan, photos

Hazara community

“We have no words to condemn these unfortunate attacks,” lamented the CJP.

A report on Hazara killings was submitted in court by Quetta Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdur Razzaq Cheema on the CJP’s orders. According to the report, 399 Shia, 36 Sunni and 29 settlers from the Hazara community have been killed in targeted attacks during the past six years.

Read: Hazara massacre

In the past four months, nine people from the Hazara community have been murdered, the report stated. It added that 28 security officials have been killed so far in 2018. However, the situation has improved a lot now, Cheema claimed.

Advocate Iftikhar Ali, who was representing the Hazara community, lamented that targeted killings of the ethnic minority have been going on for 20 years, yet not a single arrest has been made.

“Our lives and property are being endangered,” he said. “Our people had to leave for Australia [to escape the situation].”

Ali also alleged that the police had withdrawn security from their community elders as well. The accusation was denied by Cheema.

The DIG told the court that 28 security officials had been killed in 2018 alone. At this point, the CJ asked Cheema if there was a connection between the killing of the Hazaras and security officials.

“We have worked very hard due to which the number of casualties has decreased,” Cheema responded and added that the Counter-Terrorism Department had arrested terrorists involved in cases of kidnapping for ransom.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1407011/hazara-killings-tantamount-to-genocide-says-chief-justice

Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa inaugurates fencing of Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan

May 9, 2018

Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday inaugurated the work for erecting fences along the Pak-Afghan border near Panjpai area of Balochistan.

He was accompanied by Balo­chistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Commander Sou­thern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Sardar Muhammad Saleh Bhootani, Prince Ali Ahmed Ahmedzai and other officials.

Image result for Gen Bajwa, photos

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

Read: Country will never act as US proxy in any war: Asif

The Pakistan Army has already completed work on a 5km-long fence on the border near Panjpai. In total 1,268km-long fences would be erected along the Pak-Afghan border.

According to official sources, 250 Frontier Corp forts — one at a distance of every 3km — would be built and 16-foot-high watchtowers will be built at every kilometre to ensure proper monitoring of the border.

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Talking to tribal elders and local people, Gen Bajwa appreciated their cooperation with security forces in improving security situation in Balochistan. He also thanked them for their support for the fencing of the border, saying that it would help in checking the movement of terrorists on the border.

Says army will help govt in boosting development activities

The army chief said special arrangements had been made to facilitate bilateral trade and legal movement of people between Pakistan and Afghanistan through designated crossing points.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Bizenjo appreciated the role of the Pakistan Army in improving the security situation and boosting development activities in Balochistan.

He said the fencing of border would stop influx of terrorists from Afghanistan and help the government in controlling terror activities in the province.

“The people of Balochistan would never hesitate in rendering sacrifices for the motherland’s protection,” Mr Bizenjo said.

Later in the day, Gen Bajwa attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the National University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) Quetta campus.

Constructed with an estimated cost of Rs2.63 billion, the campus spans over 30 acres and will house 550 students. Besides usual disciplines, it will also have study programmes for specific requirements of Balochistan, such as mining, water resource, engineering, etc.

Quetta Safe City Project

The army chief also inaugurated the Quetta Safe City Project. The project, which was held up for the past five years, will cost Rs2.28 billion. Under the project 14,000 cameras would be installed in the city. Upon completion, the project will help in improving security situation in the provincial capital.

During his stay in Quetta, Gen Bajwa also interacted with students of some universities in the city. He said the army would support the government in bringing improvement in the fields of education, health, electricity, water infrastructure in Balochistan.

He said the people of Pakistan had rejected terrorism, adding that the armed forces and the people had rendered great sacrifices for establishment of peace in the country.

He said some elements for their vested interests were trying to influence young minds to create anarchy in the country. But the people of the country would foil all such conspiracies, he added.

He urged the students to focus on their studies and work hard for the development of Pakistan.

Some tribal elders who were present on the occasion welcomed the fencing of border, saying that it would help in maintaining law and order in the province.

Speaking on the occasion, tribal elder Malik Abdul Majeed Mashwani termed the fencing of border “a project of safe Pakistan” and said: “It should have started much earlier.”

Tribal elder Sardar Gul Mohammad Sasoli also supported the fencing of border and said local people would never allow entry of terrorists from other side of the border.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1406534

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Pakistani military seeks better relations with India, US

May 6, 2018

WASHINGTON: The Pakistani military leadership is reaching out to India because it believes that the way to peace and prosperity is through military cooperation with India, says a new think-tank report.

“Attempts to open a dialogue come against a background of almost weekly exchanges of fire along the Line of Control in Kashmir,” notes the UK-based Royal Unites Services Institute (RUSI), in a report on renewed efforts to reduce tensions between the two neighbours. “Will New Delhi reciprocate?” asks the report, which was released in London this week.

Also read: Indian, Pakistani troops to take part in joint drills

The report notes that “in a historic first last month,” Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa invited Sanjay Vishwasrao, the Indian military attaché, and his team to the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad. The move indicates that “ties between the two foes are warming up,” it adds, noting that Gen Bajwa followed this two weeks later by saying that the Pakistan military wanted peace and dialogue with India.

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Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

The two countries will also take part in joint military drills in Russia in September, with Chinese participation. Such developments mark a change in attitudes that started when Gen Bajwa became the army chief in November 2016, the report adds.

During a visit to Britain last year, Gen Bajwa addressed a gathering at RUSI and announced that the Pakistan army was “now no more insecure and feels confident of its future” and that he “welcomes Indian participation in Pakistan’s flagship infrastructure project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)”.

The report points out that both India and Pakistan have tried to forge relationships before as well. In the 1980s, Gen Ziaul Haq, and then Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, became close. Then, retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and Atal Bihari Vajpayee also came close at a 2002 summit in Agra to resolving the Kashmir conflict despite a year-long tense situation on the border. “Approaches by Pakistani generals have been welcomed by some in India, because they are seen to be able to deliver on peace,” RUSI reports.

The report notes that recent military operations in Fata have brought security and stability on the western border, encouraging the Pakistan Army to approach India with the understanding that it will help Pakistan’s upward economic trajectory and allow regional trade flourish. “Gen Hayat’s plan could come to fruition this year,” the report adds.

The report also notes that so far, India has rejected Pakistan’s offer of a transit trade dialogue on Afghan-Indian commerce. “But with a sustained approach by Pakistani officers to India, it could only be a matter of time before Delhi agrees to at least talk to Islamabad,” the report concludes.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1405960

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WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan have many opportunities to work together for defeating terrorism and restoring stability in Afghanistan, says the US Department of Defence as the White House assures Kabul of its continued support.

Such assurances from the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department follow a series of recent terrorist attacks in Kabul that killed hundreds of civilians, including many journalists.

The attacks caused speculations in the US media that the Trump administration may reconsider its pledge to stay engaged with Afghanistan if the situation worsened.

Some media reports also suggested that the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may back proposals for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan if the situation does not improve.

At a Thursday afternoon news briefing, Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana White not only reiterated continued US support to Kabul but also reminded Islamabad of the need to work with neighbouring states to bring peace and stability to the region.

“So, with respect to Pakistan, we have opportunities with Pakistan,” said Ms White when asked if Pakistan was supporting US efforts to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan. “We think Pakistan can do more, and we’ll look to them and work with them to find opportunities to further regional security.”

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1405707/us-pakistan-can-work-together-for-afghan-peace-says-pentagon