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

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora