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USA: Kayani Was Not Asked To Launch New Operation

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Posted by on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 14:22
This news item was posted in Current Affairs category and has 1 Comment so far .

WASHINGTON: The top US commander in Afghanistan said on Monday that he never asked the Pakistani army chief to do more while the White House rejected an impression that the United States and Pakistan were on a collision course over how to deal with the Taliban.

The two statements, given at a briefing on Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Washington, negates claims that last week’s botched attempt to bomb Times Square by a Pakistani-American may be the beginning of an end of the US-Pakistan partnership.

Soon after the bombing attempt, the US media reported that Gen McChrystal met Gen Asfhfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad and asked him to launch a military operation in North Waziristan.

The claim was backed up with other reports in the media, saying that the United States wanted an immediate military operation in North Waziristan and is urging Pakistan to further expand the fight against the militants in other areas as well.

“Yes, there was an unfortunate news story that came out that was completely inaccurate that represented that I had expressed to Gen Kayani US policy on doing more, and that just didn’t happen,” said Gen Stanley McChrystal, who commands US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

“It was a one-on-one meeting and it (the demand) did not occur. And I’d made it clear to Gen Kayani that I did not represent it that way,” the US commander told a White House briefing.

The new US stance also clarifies earlier remarks by other American officials, creating an impression that Pakistan needs to launch a major military operation against the militants now or face America’s ire.

“The Pakistani government recognises the threat that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan poses to them, just as we recognise the threat it poses to us,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

He was asked to comment on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Sunday statement that if Pakistan-based militants succeeded in bombing the United States, it would have “very, very severe” consequences for Islamabad.

USA: Kayani Was Not Asked To Launch New Operation

It was a one-on-one meeting and the demand did not occur. I'd made it clear to Gen Kayani that I did not represent it that way, the US commander told a White House briefing. –Photo by Reuters

“I think there is, without a doubt, an alignment of interest in understanding where that threat is and what it poses,” said Mr Gibbs, rejecting the impression that US and Pakistan were on a collision course.

Yet, some American scholars continued to claim that the attempt to bomb Times Square “will test US-Pakistan ties”, as Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation think-tank said.

Relations between the two countries were “already strained by mutual mistrust and differing perceptions of regional security,” she added.

At the White House briefing, Gen McChrystal not only denied ever urging Gen Kayani to launch an operation but also urged the US media to appreciate Pakistan’s position.

“I think that it is important that we understand that the insurgency faced by Pakistan, the TTP, is an essential threat,” he said. “It’s a significant threat to their country. And it’s complimentary to what Afghanistan faces. So it puts the two nations with a common problem.”

Gen McChrystal noted that the Afghan Taliban and TTP were distinct, but were not completely unrelated.

“And therefore it’s important we sync our two campaigns together. And that’s why I spend a lot of time with Gen Kayani, who’s a good partner, working that,” he explained.

A journalist tried to argue with him that the bulk of the Pakistani effort to fight militants was directed at the Pakistani Taliban, leaving aside those who threatened US interests in Afghanistan.

“I think it’s interesting that most people don’t understand the scope of the Pakistani effort against the TTP,” replied the US general. “It’s been large and it’s been costly. They’ve lost a lot of soldiers in a significant campaign that’s actually been waged very, very well.”

Further explaining his point, Gen McChrystal added: “So I think it’s really good, when we get a chance, to understand the major effort that they’ve made.”

The White House press secretary also emphasised this point, saying that the US had a close partnership with Pakistan who last year launched a major operation against the militants.

“I would characterise our relationship as good. I would characterise one of the things that has happened over the course of the past year: a far greater cooperation between the two governments, and pleased with that continued cooperation,” he added.

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1 Response to “USA: Kayani Was Not Asked To Launch New Operation”

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