US envoy discusses regional security, Afghanistan in meeting with army chief

Published October 22, 2018
US Charge d'affaires Paul Jones calls on COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — Photo: ISPR
US Charge d'affaires Paul Jones calls on COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — Photo: ISPR

The United States charge d'affaires in Pakistan on Monday called on Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters (GHQ), the head of the military's media wing said in a tweet.

In the meeting, Ambassador Paul Jones and Gen Bajwa discussed matters of mutual interest, including regional security, "with [a] particular reference to Afghanistan", Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of a week of Taliban attacks and an election married by violence in Afghanistan.

While calling recent meetings between US officials and the new Pakistani government useful, acting Deputy Secretary of State Henry Ensher had said last week that the US would continue to apply pressure on Pakistan until Islamabad changed its policy towards regional peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“There is truth to the idea that we are applying pressure to Pakistan, and it is an important component of our policy,” Ensher had said.

On Thursday last week, the Taliban had attacked top US and Afghan security chiefs inside a highly secure compound in Kandahar province.

A gunman wearing an Afghan security forces uniform opened fire on a group including General Scott Miller — the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan — and powerful Afghan police chief General Abdul Raziq as they ended a meeting in the southern city of Kandahar.

Raziq, an anti-Taliban strongman and key US ally who was credited with keeping a lid on the insurgency in the south, was killed along with Kandahar's provincial intelligence chief and an Afghan journalist. US Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley was among those injured.

That the Taliban could mount a deadly insider assault in such a secure location rattled Afghanistan, a country long used to high-profile targeted killings and violence. It was also an unusual incident for the US military, whose generals seldom face attack and are rarely wounded.

The attack was followed by deadly violence during Afghanistan's parliamentary elections.

The Taliban had vowed to attack the election, and on the first day of polling, at least 36 people were killed in nearly 200 attacks, including 27 civilians, according to Deputy Interior Minister Akhtar Mohammed Ibrahimi. He said security forces killed 31 insurgents in gun battles.

On Sunday, a roadside bomb in the eastern Nangarhar province struck a vehicle filled with civilians, killing 11 people, including six children.

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