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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora