Pakistan summons US ambassador over 'unsubstantiated' Pentagon report

Published November 5, 2014
US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson. —AFP/File
US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson. —AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday summoned US Ambassador Richard Olson to the Foreign Office to convey concerns over a recent Pentagon report alleging that terrorists operate against India and Afghanistan from sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

The country’s protest over what the Foreign Office called "unwarranted comments" was conveyed by the Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz to the US ambassador at the Foreign Ministry today.

“Pakistan has taken serious exception to comments contained in the US Department of Defence report sent to the US Congress under the title ‘Progress Towards Security and Stability in Afghanistan’,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said.

The spokesperson said that, despite Pakistan’s cooperation with the US in areas of mutual interest, the recently released report also carries "unsubstantiated allegations" of the existence of terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan or that proxy forces are operating against Afghanistan and India from inside Pakistan.

Ambassador Olson was told that such allegations were of particular concern at this point when the Pakistani government has launched a comprehensive operation against militants in tribal North Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military launched the all-out offensive dubbed ‘Operation Zarb-i-Azb’ against local and foreign militants in the remote tribal region in June, which has also been a long-running demand from Washington and its allied forces in Afghanistan.

Operation Zarb-i-Azb has been broadly welcomed internationally as well as in Washington, the US envoy was told today.

The ambassador was told that the operation has successfully eliminated terrorist hideouts and is directed against all militants without any distinction.

Pakistan hopes that the issues will be seen in their correct perspective, the US envoy was told.


Pakistan waging proxy war against India: report


The Pentagon report earlier submitted to the US Congress accuses Pakistan of using militants who launch attacks on Afghanistan from sanctuaries in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan.

“Taliban attacks in Afghanistan launched from sanctuaries in Pakistan remain a serious problem. These sanctuaries exist primarily in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Baluchistan,” says the report.

The report which runs more than 100 pages also accuses Pakistan of being involved in a proxy war waged against India to offset the latter's military superiority.

“Afghan- and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military."

“These relationships run counter to Pakistan’s public commitment to support Afghan-led reconciliation. Such groups continue to act as the primary irritant in Afghan-Pakistan bilateral relations,” it adds.

Referring to a recent attack on the Indian consulate in Afghanistan's Herat province which took place three days before India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath, the report holds militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) responsible for the attack.

Then Afghan President Hamid Karzai had said that he was informed by western intelligence agencies that the attack was carried out by the LeT.

The accusation was rejected by the LeT.

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