ISLAMABAD, Nov 25: As Taliban continue to travel back and forth across the Afghan border, Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen, discussed the issue on Friday and the need for tighter measures to block the militant traffic.
Gen Kayani and General Allen “discussed measures concerning coordination, communication and procedures between Pakistan Army, Isaf and Afghan Army aimed at enhancing border control on both sides,” an ISPR statement issued after the meeting said.
Gen Allen was here for “regular operational consultations”, a Pakistani officer said without detailing what new measures were being discussed to disrupt the militants' cross-border movement which has been identified as one of the most critical factors sustaining the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan.
While the overall security scenario in other parts of Afghanistan has lately shown slight improvement, the situation in eastern provinces remains tenuous with rising cross-border incidents.
“In the past week alone, the Haqqani network has murdered 20 civilians in RC East, and it has assassination squads working in some of my provinces. They also recently blew up a girls' school in my region. So has Haqqani intimidated the populace in parts of RC East? Absolutely,” Maj-Gen Daniel Allyn, commander of the Joint Task Force with responsibility for Regional Command East said in an interview.
Gen Allen, a source said, had been telling Pakistani military commanders that the situation in the east was one of the major challenges in the way of completing US drawdown by 2014.
Unlike in the past when Pakistani military criticised the coalition forces for not taking sufficient measures to interdict the Taliban as they entered Afghanistan, Nato/Isaf, an American military source claimed, had significantly enhanced security layers involving Afghan security forces and coalition troops.
“It is extremely important for expanding the Kabul security zone,” he added.
Pakistani Taliban, who had fled operations in the tribal belt and Swat and are said to be having sanctuaries in eastern Afghan provinces over the past few months have launched major attacks also into Pakistani territory.