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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs