News / Asia

Pakistan Says Ties With US Improving

In this file photo, Pakistani Defense Minister Naveed Qamar is seen flanked by Indian and Pakistani officials, Rawalpindi, June 11, 2012.In this file photo, Pakistani Defense Minister Naveed Qamar is seen flanked by Indian and Pakistani officials, Rawalpindi, June 11, 2012.
x
In this file photo, Pakistani Defense Minister Naveed Qamar is seen flanked by Indian and Pakistani officials, Rawalpindi, June 11, 2012.
In this file photo, Pakistani Defense Minister Naveed Qamar is seen flanked by Indian and Pakistani officials, Rawalpindi, June 11, 2012.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan says its political and military ties with the United States are on the upswing after nearly two years of setbacks and crises. The country’s defense minister tells VOA that bilateral understanding has also improved on how to counter terrorism in Pakistani border regions and promote political reconciliation in neighboring Afghanistan.
 
Bilateral cooperation has been gradually improving since July when Pakistan unblocked NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.
 
The latest demonstration of normalizing ties came earlier this month when the Obama administration notified Congress it would reimburse nearly $700 million to Islamabad for the cost of conducting anti-terrorism operations on the Afghan border.
 
Pakistani Defense Minister Naveed Qamar tells VOA his country hopes the United States will soon unfreeze other promised military aid to keep the momentum going.
 
“Things have improved to quite an extent and I would venture out to say that we are back to where we were sometime back, where there is a constant cooperation between the two countries at various levels, political, military, intelligence and so on,” says Qamar.
 
Pakistan had been receiving around $2 billion in annual security assistance from the United States, including the military reimbursements, called coalition support funds.
 
But these payments had been held up because of diplomatic tensions over the U.S. raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden, and the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a cross border NATO airstrike in November 2011. That incident had provoked Pakistan to block NATO supply lines and halt all anti-terror cooperation with the United States.
 
For its part, the United States has been critical of Pakistan's refusal to mobilize troops against bases of the Haqqani network in the country's North Waziristan border region, a safe militant haven being used for cross-border insurgent attacks in Afghanistan. 
 
Better understanding in Washington

Defense Minister Qamar says there is now a better understanding in Washington of his country’s reservations about an all-out war against Islamist militants on its soil.
 
“In terms of when to do what, it is best left to those who are on the ground so that they can make a good judgment of whether a particular operation will be productive or counter-productive. We do see the U.S. moving closer to the Pakistani position but we need to work hand-in-hand to be able to come to the ultimate objective [of weeding out terrorism]” says Qamar.
 
Pakistani leaders say that a renewed consultative process between Islamabad and Washington on how to promote Afghan political reconciliation also indicates convergence of views on achieving the common objective of ending the Afghan war.
 
Islamabad is also apprehensive about an abrupt total pull out by foreign troops from Afghanistan without putting in place a stable political process. Qamar articulated those fears.
 
“What we expect is that once the U.S. forces leave there should be forces left there that would be able to control the situation. It might be an internal compulsion of the United States government to speed up the withdrawal. But speeding up, again, should not result in a collapse.”
 
Afghan diplomatic sources in Islamabad also agree that there are clear signs Pakistan has stepped forward to help facilitate the political reconciliation process inside the country. These sources believe this readiness appears to be driven by fears of a spillover of the conflict into Pakistan if the political system in Kabul collapsed following the withdrawal of foreign troops.
 
At the request of the Afghan government, Islamabad has recently released about a dozen Afghan Taliban leaders from its jails to try to speed up the political reconciliation process and has promised to free dozens of remaining prisoners.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs