US acknowledges N. Waziristan operation has disrupted militants

Updated December 11, 2014

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In this file photo, a Pakistani army soldier takes a position during a military operation against militants .—AP/File
In this file photo, a Pakistani army soldier takes a position during a military operation against militants .—AP/File

WASHINGTON: The United States affirmed on Wednesday Pakistan’s claim that the military operation in North Waziristan had disrupted militants.

At the 23rd meeting of the US-Pakistan Defence Consultative Group, the two countries also stressed the need for creating a mechanism for reimbursing Pakistan after the expiry of the Coalition Support Fund. The fund expired this year.

“Both delegations affirmed the significance of the Pakistan military’s ongoing North Waziristan operation, which the US side affirmed has disrupted militants,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting.

The two sides also agreed to “continue providing Pakistan’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency requirements which will inform the provision of security assistance”.

The United States and Pakistan also “discussed the importance of a mechanism to reimburse Pakistan for operational expenses after Coalition Support Funds expire at the end of fiscal year 2015,” the statement said.

The DCG, which is a joint working group under the Strategic Dialogue framework, was held in Washington on Dec 9 and 10. Defence Secretary Lt Gen (Retired) Alam Khattak led the Pakistani delegation at the talks while Christine E. Wormuth, Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, led the US team.

The DCG is the primary forum for exchanging views and coordinating defence policy for promoting security interests of the two allied nations.

The DCG last met in November 2013 in Washington.

At the meeting, both sides welcomed the continued positive trajectory of the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship and agreed that bilateral cooperation was essential to promoting regional peace and stability and defeating Al Qaeda and other terrorist elements in the region.

They also reaffirmed their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship, which they stressed should focus on achieving common objectives.

During the plenary session, DCG participants shared their respective assessments of bilateral relationship and discussed each country’s strategic priorities, and agreed on areas for future defence cooperation.

The Pakistani delegation provided an update on its military campaign along its border with Afghanistan. The US side briefed the Pakistani delegation on the security transition in Afghanistan, including plans for US forces to help train, advise, and assist Afghan national security forces over the next year.

Both sides expressed appreciation for the efforts by their respective militaries to improve operational coordination, and “deep appreciation for the sacrifices of all military personnel and civilians in the common fight against all forms of violent extremism”.

Both sides reviewed the challenges facing regional security, and shared their views regarding the importance of regional peace and stability. Recognising the enduring security requirements on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the delegations reaffirmed that the DCG remained an invaluable forum to discuss strategic defence policy issues and exchange views on shared security concerns; they committed to continue working together to implement a framework for defence cooperation based on areas of convergence between their interests.

Published in Dawn December 11th , 2014