News / Asia

    Pakistani Military Chief Warns US Against Unilateral Military Action

    Pakistan's army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, right (file photo)
    Pakistan's army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, right (file photo)
    Ayaz Gul

    Pakistan is under pressure from the United States to launch a full-scale military offensive in the North Waziristan region to uproot bases linked to the militant Haqqani network that Washington says are fueling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

    U.S. military commanders also allege that the ISI, the Pakistani military's intelligence agency, is helping the insurgents stage deadly attacks on international forces in Afghanistan. Reports from Washington suggest that Islamabad’s reluctance to go after the insurgents in Pakistan's North Waziristan could prompt a unilateral U.S. military offensive there.

    But speaking before a closed-door meeting of members of the parliament’s defense committees Tuesday night, Army Chief General Asfhaq Parvez Kayani urged the United States to focus its efforts on stabilizing neighboring Afghanistan rather than pressuring his country to step up anti-militant operations.

    Details of Kayani's comments

    Former Pakistani spy chief Senator Javed Ashraf Qazi was among the lawmakers who attended the meeting at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. Speaking to VOA, he provided some details of General Kayani’s remarks.

    “He [Kayani] said, 'we want good relations with the United States, but we do not want to be the punching bag. We do not want to be the scapegoat for failures of their actions in Afghanistan,'" said Qazi in relating what the general discussed. "He said [referring to the United States], 'don’t do that, if you want us to help you, then you have got to make up your mind that you cannot insult us and blame us, and yet ask for our help.”

    Senator Qazi said General Kayani also addressed U.S. allegations that the Pakistani military's spy agency, the ISI, is helping the Haqqani network target American interests in Afghanistan.

    “He [Kayani] said that, 'I don’t deny that ISI has contacts, because no worthwhile intelligence agency can live or function without contacts in every direction. If you want information, you have to have contacts. Contacts do not mean that you are supporting them or you agree with them, contacts only means that you have somebody that you know within who will supply you information. And similarly, in fact, CIA has contacts, the British intelligence has contacts, so why pick up on ISI,'” said Qazi.

    Forces amassing

    The security meeting took place amid reports that the U.S. and NATO have increased the number of troops in the Afghan province bordering Pakistan’s North Waziristan district.

    This has intensified fears here that the United States is preparing a cross-border offensive against the Haqqani network.

    Qazi told VOA that participants in the meeting also were keen to know General Kayani’s stance on the troop buildup on the Afghan side of the border.   

    “[His] response was that we do not know as yet. 'We are watching. There is [a] concentration of U.S. troops across, but it could be for an operation within Afghanistan. And therefore, let us wait and see.' [And he said] that 'in case they have the intentions of coming across with these troops, then they will have to think 10 times before they do it.'”

    Local media reports have quoted some participants in the meeting as saying that Kayani did not comment directly on his country’s response to a possible U.S. military action on Pakistani soil, but reminded the lawmakers that “Pakistan is a nuclear power and must not be compared with Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    Reducing disagreement

    General Kayani also is said to have told the parliamentarians that the military could take action in North Waziristan immediately if he were convinced it would solve all problems in the region.

    The rare security briefing took place amid reports that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to visit Islamabad later this month.

    Pakistan's information minister, Firdous Ashiq Awan, told VOA she hopes Clinton’s trip will contribute to narrowing differences over the way forward in the joint war against terrorism.

    “All those sore issues, they should be settled and resolved, and it can only be done through negotiation and dialogue,” said Awan.

    The minister said meetings in Islamabad would help the two sides understand each other’s point of view, enabling Pakistan and the United States to build on their strategic partnership.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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