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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid