Acceptance good but we already knew it, Army chief to Pak PM

Lamar Ellis
December 8, 2018

The Trump administration, in the recent months, has intensified its efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of America's longest war in Afghanistan where the U.S. has lost over 2,400 soldiers since late 2001, when it invaded the country after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday said that while Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's acceptance of Pak terror group's involvement in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks is good but the global community already knew who did it. "Pakistan must leverage their influence over the Taliban leadership to help compel them to come to the table for reconciliation negotiations", he added.

On killing of Al-Qaeda Chief Osama bin Laden, he said "most Pakistanis felt deeply humiliated that we were not trusted, implying that we were complicit in it".

As the USA continue to ask Pakistan to do more regarding the reported terror sanctuaries in the country, the PM asserted that "there are no sanctuaries in Pakistan" as he ruled out the presence of Taliban in the country.

Army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor told reporters in Rawalpindi, where the military is headquartered, that Pakistan has long called for resolving Afghan conflict through political means and a US -initiated peace process has gained momentum lately.

Islamabad joined Washington's "war on terror" in 2001, and says it has paid a heavy price for the alliance, which sparked an Islamist backlash and homegrown militant groups who turned their guns on the Pakistani state, costing thousands of lives.

Regarding Trump's recent request for assistance in achieving peace in Afghanistan, Khan said, "We will try our best". They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, "Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?" Now I'm happy that everyone realizes there is only a political solution. It has to be a regional solution not just a solution centered in Afghanistan.

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It is in Pakistan's long-term interest to have a government in Afghanistan that is stable, and that that they can do business with, he said.

"In this regard, he has sought Pakistan's support and facilitation", it continued. It will be hard to reach a settlement without some form of assistance or Pakistan.

"I had gone on television and warned everyone that we will stand by the Supreme Court verdict", he recalled.

"Ambassador Khalilzad stressed the United States' commitment to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for worldwide terrorism and ends the 40-years-long war in the country", noted the embassy statement.

"If we left precipitously right now, I do not believe they (Afghan security forces) would be able to successfully defend their country". They also said that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is working on the Pakistani response. I think it's a conditions-based approach we're going to go through this winter.

Over 2,400 United States soldiers have perished in Afghanistan during the protracted conflict, a number that is closing in on the death toll from the attacks of September 11, 2001, which prompted the US' invasion.

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