WASHINGTON: The Pakistani military offensive in North Waziristan is a step in the right direction and there’s need for continuing such actions, says the new commander of the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Speaking at a media roundtable at the Pentagon, US Army’s Vice Chief of Staff General John F. Campbell also underlined the need for continued cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to defeat the militants.
According to the US Army News Service, Gen Campbell urged Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together to remove the terror “that threatens their people and their way of life”.
Last week, the US Senate confirmed Gen Campbell as the next commander of the International Security Assistance Force and US forces. He departs for Afghanistan later this month.
New Isaf chief urges Pakistan, Afghanistan to join hands to root out terrorism
At his farewell roundtable with the media, the general said that the insurgents crossed the porous Afghan-Pakistan border “back and forth”, which can only be stopped if the countries combined their efforts to root them out. He urged Afghanistan and Pakistan to stay engaged with each other and continue their discussions on this and other issues.
Gen Campbell said he hoped there would be an agreement that allowed US and Nato forces to stay in Afghanistan until the country became more stable. “Ninety-nine per cent of the Afghans want us to stay,” he said.
The general also emphasised the importance of personal relationships during this period of transition in Afghanistan as the United States was withdrawing its forces and the Afghans were taking over security responsibilities.
He recalled that while serving as the commander of Regional Command East in Afghanistan in 2010, he visited the 11th Corps commander in Pakistan, a lieutenant general who was a 2006 graduate of the US National Defence University.
The Pakistani general also knew others who’d graduated from NDU, which helped him to build a personal relationship with him right from the outset, the US commander said.
“That means if we have something going on, on the border, I can get on the phone and call him up,” he said.
“It helped immensely, and I think we’ve got to continue working on relationships like those.”
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2014