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  World   Asia  23 Oct 2017  Pakistan ‘not ready’ for joint anti-terror ops with US

Pakistan ‘not ready’ for joint anti-terror ops with US

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHAFQAT ALI
Published : Oct 23, 2017, 5:28 am IST
Updated : Oct 23, 2017, 6:18 am IST

The Pakistani side would stress the need for intelligence sharing in the fight against terrorists.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Photo: AP)
 US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Photo: AP)

Islamabad: Pakistan plans to tell US secretary of state Rex Tillerson this week that Islamabad is not ready for joint action against the militants in the lawless tribal areas.

Mr Tillerson is expected to visit Pakistan this week. Officials in Islamabad said that Pakistan was not against cooperation but will not allow the US military to fight militants alongside the Pakistani counterparts.

 

Earlier this month, foreign minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif, who recently toured the US, said in a television interview that Pakistan has offered the United States a joint operation against terrorists on its soil. However, he later clarified that he never said Pakistan could allow foreign boots on ground.

Mr Tillerson’s trip comes amid an uptick in Taliban violence in Afghanistan where US-led coalition forces have been battling to quell an increasingly bloody insurgency since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001. Pakistani policymakers have been preparing agenda for talks with the Mr Tillerson.

President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy aide would be told that Pakistan is willing to further strengthen the intelligence information sharing mechanism with the US in consonance with its national security, officials said.

 

“He (Mr Tillerson) will be told that only Pakistani security forces will conduct counterterrorism operations on its soil - and that a joint operation with American or Afghan forces is out of question,” an official said.

According to sources, Pakistani officials have prioritised the issues to be taken up with Mr Tillerson which include the recent strain in Pak-US ties; President Trump’s new Afghan strategy, Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process and Pakistan’s reservations on India’s role in Afghanistan,.

Top government functionaries would also tell President Trump’s top aide that the American policy of pushing Pakistan to “do more” must end as no other country has done as much as Pakistan has in the global war against terrorism. “It would also be conveyed to Mr Tillerson that Pakistan wants to promote relationship with the US on the basis of sovereign equality,” said one official.

 

The Pakistani side would stress the need for intelligence sharing in the fight against terrorists. The Americans would be asked to share actionable intelligence on terrorists on Pakistan’s soil, and Pakistani forces would take action against them.

US and Afghan officials allege that the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban faction responsible for some the most deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, maintains safe havens inside Pakistan — an allegation Islamabad vehemently denies.

Tags: rex tillerson, us military, khawaja mohammed asif
Location: Pakistan, Islamabad