Pakistan’s powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif has asked the US to target the hideouts of Pakistan militants and their chief Mullah Fazlullah in Afghanistan.
General Raheel made the demand during a high-level meeting with Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General John Nicholson and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson in Islamabad on Friday.
In a late night statement, the army said Gen Raheel demanded targeting of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan militants and Mullah Fazlullah in their hideouts in Afghanistan. “Raising the demand of targeting TTP and Mullah Fazlullah in their bases in Afghanistan, COAS reiterated Pakistan’s resolve not to allow hostile intelligence agencies efforts, especially RAW and NDS, of fomenting terrorism,” it said.
It was the first visit of high-level officials from the US since fresh tension with Pakistan after the killing of the Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Mansour by a CIA drone in Balochistan on May 21. The army said the regional security situation, with particular reference to border management and peace and stability in Afghanistan in the post-21 May US drone strike environment came under discussion. “Expressing his serious concern on the US drone strike in Balochistan as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, Gen Raheel highlighted as to how it had impacted the mutual trust and respect and was counter-productive in consolidating the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb,” it said.
Raheel said all efforts for durable peace in the region have to be synergised with shared commitment and responsibility in order to make them successful. He said all stakeholders need to understand Pakistan’s challenges with regard to porous border, inter-tribal linkages and decades-old presence of over 3 million refugees. “Blaming Pakistan for instability in Afghanistan is unfortunate,” he said.
He said Pakistan is committed to work for a long term peace process for Afghanistan under the four nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group framework, involving Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US. Earlier, the high-level US delegation met the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz who warned the American officials of consequences for bilateral ties if attacks like killing of Mansour on May 21 were repeated.