Sunday, February 17, 2019 | ePaper

`Taliban being utilised as hedge against India`: Top US Commander on Pak

  • Print


"We continue to see Taliban being utilised as a hedge against India," the officer said

PTI, Washington :
Days after US President Donald Trump sought Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's help in the Afghan peace process, a top American commander has told lawmakers that Islamabad's policy seems to be unchanged and it continues to use the Taliban as a hedge against India.
"Pakistan is an essential element in long-term stability in Afghanistan," Marine Corps Lt Gen Kenneth McKenzie Jr told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday during his confirmation hearing for commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM).
Pakistan could play a key role in facilitating talks between the Taliban and government of Afghanistan, he said, adding, "I would welcome that development. At this time, however, Pakistan does not appear to be using the full extent of its influence to encourage the Taliban to come to the table."
"We continue to see the Taliban being utilised as a hedge against India rather than as part of a stable, reconciled Afghanistan," McKenzie told the lawmakers during his confirmation hearing.
His answers to the Senate Armed Services Committee in response to a set of written questions come a day after it became public that Trump has written a letter to Imran Khan, seeking his help in the Afghan peace process.
"President Trump sent a letter to Prime Minister Khan, requesting Pakistan's full support to the US-led Afghan peace process and Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's upcoming trip to the region," a spokesperson of the National Security Council, White House, told PTI.
"In the letter, the President recognises that Pakistan has the ability to deny the Taliban sanctuary on its territory," the spokesperson said.
"The letter also makes it clear that Pakistan's assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring US-Pakistan partnership," the spokesperson said.
McKenzie told lawmakers that he did not see much of a change in Pakistan's behaviour towards Afghanistan or its stand against terrorist groups.
Despite Pakistan's positive rhetoric in support of the South Asia Strategy, violent extremist organisations or VEOs operate along its border with Afghanistan, he said.
While Pakistan has conducted some operations against VEOs in the country, they must continue to expand these operations and remain aggressively engaged, McKenzie said.

More News For this Category

Turkey has not revealed all about Khashoggi killing : Erdogan

Turkey has not revealed all about Khashoggi killing : Erdogan

AFP, Ankara :Turkey has not yet revealed all the information it has discovered about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Iran threatens retaliation over car bombing that killed 27

Iran threatens retaliation over car bombing that killed 27

AP, Isfahan :The head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard threatened to retaliate against neighboring Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates over a suicide car bombing this week that killed 27

Ex- Cardinal McCarrick defrocked over sex abuse allegations

Ex- Cardinal McCarrick defrocked over sex abuse allegations

AFP, Vatican :Pope Francis has defrocked a former cardinal in a first for the Roman Catholic church over accusations American Theodore McCarrick sexually abused a teenager 50 years ago, a

North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold

North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold

AFP, Pyongyang :The Day of the Shining Star dawned bitterly cold in Pyongyang. But thousands of North Koreans lined up in temperatures of minus 8 degrees Celsius on Saturday to

French to mark three months of 'yellow vest' protests

French to mark three months of 'yellow vest' protests

Demonstrators are to hit French city streets again Saturday, marking three months of "yellow vest" protests as a poll now suggests that most of the country wants them to stop.The

News In Brief

Thousands of UK kids skip school for climate protestsAFP, LondonThousands of schoolchildren went on "strike" across Britain on Friday in a protest against climate change, with hundreds rallying in London's

Kosovars feel trapped in EU visa 'cage'

AFP, Pristina :Kosovars are increasingly vexed by the massive amount of time, money and paperwork needed to obtain visas to enter the European Union-a process not required of any

Trump heavier, but in ‘very good health’: Doctor

Trump heavier, but in ‘very good health’: Doctor

AFP, Washington :President Donald Trump is a little heavier than last year and needs a higher dose of cholesterol medicine, but remains in "very good health," his official doctor

Political deadlock beckons as Spain's PM calls April election

Political deadlock beckons as Spain's PM calls April election

Reuters, Madrid : Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a snap national election for April 28 on Friday after parliament voted down his budget bill, spelling an uncertain few months

Maduro reveals secret meetings with US envoy

Maduro reveals secret meetings with US envoy

AP, Caracas, Venezuela :A month into Venezuela's high-stakes political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro revealed in an AP interview that his government held secret talks with the Trump administration and