Top US general: ‘Not giving up’ on Pakistan ties

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Observer Report

Islamabad

Top US military officer General Joseph Dunford, has said he remains committed to the US-Pakistan relationship, which has been strained in recent weeks as Washington piles pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militants.
“Do we agree on everything right now? No we don‘t. But are we committed to a more effective relationship with Pakistan? We are. And I‘m not giving up on that,” Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters during a trip to Brussels.
Dunford was careful in his public remarks but made clear that Votel would continue to lead the military-to-military discussions. Dunford said he and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would also contribute to that dialogue.
“I‘m not going to talk about the relationship in public because I‘m committed to try to improve the relationship and I do believe that the military-to-military dialogue led by General Votel, with occasional reinforcement from Secretary Mattis, myself and others, is the right approach,” Dunford said.
The top US forces commander General John Nicholson has said the Taliban militants are not safe anywhere in the volatile country.
Nicholson attend a ceremony of US Marine Forces in Helmand (Afghanistan) where he said they will continue their support to the Afghan forces until the end of their mission in Afghanistan.
“The enemy is not safe anywhere in Helmand. We will come after them everywhere in Helmand to help the people of Helmand expand their security and try to return their lives normal. We are here until the job is done and so the new South Asia strategy is condition-based, not time-based”.
“We are here to support all Afghans regardless of ethnic group, religion, political affiliation and government, out of government. We and the international community are here to support all Afghans.
And what we desire for Afghanistan is that they decide their own future and they will decide their own political process,” Nicholson said.
During the ceremony, responsibility of US Marine Forces was transferred from Marine Brig. Gen Roger Turner who leads the forces for nine months in Shorab Military Base to General Watson.
Turner said Taliban does not have the ability to occupy Helmand’s strategic areas and that the group has lost many important locations in the province.

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