WASHINGTON: The US State Department said on Monday that it backed Pakistan’s efforts to extend its sovereignty and stability over the entire country.
Also on Monday, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Rashad Mahmood began a five-day official visit to the United States. He arrived in Washington on Saturday, a day before the government launched a major military offensive in North Waziristan to eliminate terrorist hideouts.
Gen Mahmood has come on the invitation of his US counterpart, Gen Martin Dempsey, and will visit several military bases in the country besides holding talks with key officials in Washington. At a regular news briefing at the State Department, spokesperson Jen Psaki emphasised that the operation launched in North Waziristan was “entirely Pakistan-led and executed”.
She repeated this point twice in the meeting, apparently to dispel an impression that the United States was, at any stage, involved in the planning or execution of this operation.
Gen Mahmood in Washington to meet key officials
Ms Psaki hinted at continued US support for Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism when asked if National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz had conveyed his government’s decision to send troops into North Waziristan when he met US Secretary of State John Kerry in London earlier this week.
She referred to an official statement on this meeting, which quoted Secretary Kerry telling Mr Aziz that recent developments in South Asia had placed Pakistan in a “very, very key” position and had further increased the need for staying engaged with that country.
“This is a government of Pakistan’s operation and we have long supported Pakistan’s efforts to extend its sovereignty over the country,” she added.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2014