Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) (C), walks with Army Major General James Terry (L), and Army Lieutenant General David Rodriguez (R) as they make their way to attend a briefing in Kandahar.-Reuters

WASHINGTON: Nato-led forces can still win the war in Afghanistan even if Pakistan fails to move against militant havens on the border, a top US general said on Tuesday.

“That's not a mission stopper in my mind,” General David Rodriguez, deputy US commander in Afghanistan, told a Pentagon news conference.

US officials have long pressed Islamabad to crack down on the Haqqani network and other militants based in North Waziristan, saying the insurgents exploit the area as a sanctuary to stage attacks on coalition forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

But Rodriguez said the war effort would not be derailed even if Pakistan never fulfils promises to take action in North Waziristan, saying Islamabad has launched effective operations elsewhere along the northwest border.

“We need them to do more. We're going to encourage them to do more because that makes it easier on what we're doing. But I think it's still doable, without them decreasing what they've been doing, which is significant,” he said.

His comments contrasted with more pessimistic assessments from US intelligence agencies and some lawmakers, who have warned that Pakistan's reluctance to combat the Haqqani network in North Waziristan could undermine the war effort.

Rodriguez said he expected violence in Afghanistan to increase as usual in the spring as the insurgency launches its annual “seasonal” offensive.

But he predicted the Taliban would change its approach, targeting Afghan officials for assassination while moving away from confrontations with the heavily-armed coalition force.

With President Barack Obama planning to start a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in July, Rodriguez said it was too early to say how many forces might be pulled out.

Rodriguez leads the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, serving under the overall commander in Afghanistan, US General David Petraeus.

Opinion

Casualties of war
17 Sep 2021

Casualties of war

As we ruminate over the consequences of America making a mockery of international law, it is equally important to take an inward
Love of wealth
17 Sep 2021

Love of wealth

Those obsessed with wealth are likely to be involved in corrupt practices.
Pro-rich growth
Updated 17 Sep 2021

Pro-rich growth

An intellectually honest prognosis of our political economy for the working class makes for grim reading.

Editorial

TTP amnesty?
Updated 17 Sep 2021

TTP amnesty?

An amnesty should be for some individuals, not the entire outfit.
17 Sep 2021

Media regulation

THE needless controversy over media regulation may finally be heading for a resolution. In a meeting with ...
17 Sep 2021

Refusing audit

THE continuous resistance put up by several public-sector organisations to submitting their accounts for audit by ...
Aid for Afghans
16 Sep 2021

Aid for Afghans

Humanitarian aid can resume even if the world decides to hold back on formal recognition of the regime for now.
16 Sep 2021

Wheat price

THE government’s decision to raise the wheat release price, or the rate at which provinces issue their grain ...
16 Sep 2021

Keeping the press out

ON Monday, the government yet again displayed its rising contempt for the freedom of press — this time in...