Pakistan remains “absolutely critical” to the success of America’s South Asia security strategy, US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Joseph Votel has said.
“We are very busily implementing our South Asia strategy, which is designed to bring the Taliban to the reconciliation table and end this very, very lengthy conflict (in Afghanistan),” he said during a teleconference arranged by the US State Department’s Dubai Regional Media Hub.
“This approach, this strategy, requires the partnership of not just Afghanistan, but of all countries in the region, and of course Pakistan is a key part of that,” he added.
“We have had our differences with Pakistan over the years on this, but Pakistan remains absolutely critical to the solution of the problem in Afghanistan.”
Votel recalled the heavy price that Pakistan has paid in its fight against terror. “There are very few countries that have suffered more from terrorism, or sacrificed more in fighting terrorism, than Pakistan,” he said in response to a question from Arab News.
He said the US is actively engaged with Pakistan in bringing peace to the region. “We are working very closely in our military-to-military chains, and in other venues, to improve our collaboration and our support back and forth in what is an extraordinarily complex situation,” he added.
The Afghans, under President Ashraf Ghani, “are making efforts at reform, they are addressing corruption, they are improving their leadership, and they are improving their Afghan forces and (their) fighting capability,” said Votel.