Tactical counter-terrorism cooperation

ACCORDING to reports, top US and Pakistani military leadership has indicated that the two militaries are ready to engage again in ‘tactical counter-terrorism cooperation’ to promote a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. The statements come amidst renewed efforts by the Trump Administration to bring the Taliban on board before the Afghan general election, scheduled in October 2018.
Gen Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command, told reporters in Washington earlier this week that he had maintained a very robust relationship with Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and that it is important to talk. Pakistan Army demonstrated similar spirit when its spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor emphasised that military-to-military engagement is likely to yield more positive results within the overall framework of stakeholders. Renewed engagement between the two important allies in the war against terrorism is a positive development but it also hints at the possibility of more reliance on the use of force than the need for political engagement and peaceful settlement of the longstanding crisis. The United States is also following double standards on the issue as it is urging Pakistan to bring Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table but on the other hand it is pressurising Pakistan Army to take stern action against Haqqani Network.
Pakistan has already initiated an all encompassing campaign against all kinds of terrorists but it is also a fact that use of force produces results to some extent and the gains have to be consolidated and expanded by pursuing things on other fronts as well. The United States must have realised the folly of continued use of force in Afghanistan where there are no indications of any improvement in ground situation as Taliban carry out their activities as before. Kabul airport is one of the most fortified locations but a suicide attack at the airport on Sunday killed eleven people. There is no option but to forge cooperation among all stakeholders on a single point agenda of exploring an acceptable political solution of the problem.

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