Terming Haqqani network as the greatest threat to the US forces in Afghanistan, a top American general has said it is time for Pakistan to “take decisive action” against this Pakistan-based terror group. “We need Pakistan to take decisive actions against the Haqqani Network (HQN). The Pakistanis are uniquely positioned to counter the HQN, which remains the greatest threat to our forces and to stability in Afghanistan long-term,” Commander of US Central Command General Lloyd J Austin told members of the Senate Armed Service Committee at a Congressional hearing.
The US is encouraged by some signs from Kabul and Islamabad that point towards a renewed effort at improving Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, and Pakistani support for the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, Austin said yesterday.
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“The Pakistan military continues to play a visible role in efforts to reduce safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, while at the same time actively countering VEOs, including AQ, Tehrik- e-Taliban Pakistan, and the newly-emerged ISIL-KP,” he said.
“During the most recent fighting season, we saw increased collaboration among Afghan and Pakistani military leadership. Commanders at the corps level have met multiple times and continue their efforts to increase interoperability between the forces. “Both countries’ military leaders are working to secure a bilateral border standard operating procedure,” Austin said.
Noting that US-Pakistan military-to-military relationship remains stable, he said key contributing factors are the American security assistance and the Coalition Support Fund. “In December 2015, we participated in the Defence Consultative Group, a component of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, which focused on future initiatives that will help sustain US-Pakistan bilateral defence cooperation on shared security interests,” Austin added.