News / Asia

Top US General in Afghanistan Visits Pakistan

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander General Joseph Dunford (r) and Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi during a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities, at the U.S. airbase in Bagram, Mar 25, 2013.
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander General Joseph Dunford (r) and Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi during a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities, at the U.S. airbase in Bagram, Mar 25, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
The commander of NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan has made his first official visit to neighboring Pakistan, after assuming command earlier this year.  His visit comes amid continuing recriminations between Afghan and Pakistani officials, undermining hopes that a recent thaw in ties could help bring Taliban insurgents to the negotiating table.  

General Joseph Dunford, commander of the NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan, met Monday with military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistan army is headquartered.

A joint statement released after the meeting said the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen military cooperation and “pressuring militants who threaten security along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.”

Officials in Pakistan allege that fugitive militants taking refuge in Afghanistan cross the border with the help of Afghan insurgents to attack Pakistani civilian and military targets.  They also are critical of the Afghan National Army for not stopping the violence.

Former Pakistan military spokesman retired General Athar Abbas says such infiltrations and insurgent violence inside Afghanistan are likely to intensify if international forces withdraw from the country by the end of next year without having an effective peace plan in place.  He cites the long, porous border.

"If it does not happen and the area is left without coming up with a formula, which basically puts a political dispensation, which is agreeable, approved or acceptable to main stakeholders in Afghanistan, I think then the turbulence or instability in Afghanistan is likely to spill over to Pakistan, and that is our main worry," said Abbas.

But Afghan officials have alleged that efforts aimed at political reconciliation with the Taliban are not progressing because Pakistan is not living up to its commitment to facilitate the peace process.

Golalai Noor Safi, a female Afghan lawmaker and member of the High Peace Council tasked with negotiating peace with the Taliban, also blames Pakistan for the recent tensions.

"We think that the Pakistani side is not honest in their relations and every day they change their mind about the [peace] process, about Afghanistan, about the situation," said Safi.

Hours after Monday's meeting between NATO and Pakistani top commanders, Afghanistan again accused Pakistan of continuing cross-border rocket and artillery attacks on Kunar, one of its eastern border provinces.  

Last month, Afghanistan canceled a military trip to Pakistan over alleged cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops.  Pakistan criticized the decision as an "overreaction."

Pakistan’s traditional links with some influential insurgent Afghan groups, including the Taliban, are seen as vital in international-backed efforts to try to bring an end to the violence in Afghanistan, to ensure an orderly withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.

Kabul alleges that Islamabad is not interested in promoting the Afghan peace process, a charge Islamabad denies.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More