News / Asia

Major Differences Persist for Pakistan, US

Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani (R), speaks with commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, August 2, 2012.
Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani (R), speaks with commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, August 2, 2012.
Sharon Behn
ISLAMABAD — The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, met Thursday with Pakistan's top military commander General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The two countries continue to disagree about how to deal with militants based along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
 
The meeting was aimed at building cooperation between the two countries about how to best fight militants who operate in the porous border region between northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan.
 
NATO spokeswoman Major Lori Hodge said from Kabul that improved collaboration is essential.
 
“The future security and stability in the region rests in large part on the strength of the partnership these discussions are forging,” said Hodge.
 
International combat forces are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But many fear that militant action by groups such as the Taliban or Haqqani network could quickly destabilize the region.
 
NATO Supply Routes Through Pakistan:
 
  • One route crosses the Khyber Pass and goes to Kabul
  • The other route goes through Baluchistan province to Kandahar
  • The routes carried about one third of NATO cargo for ISAF forces
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the closure cost an extra $100 million a month in overland shipping through Central Asia
  • Pakistan closed the routes after U.S.-led NATO airstrikes mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border last November
While relations between the United States and Pakistan have improved since Islamabad recently re-opened NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, the two countries remain at odds about how to fight extremist groups.
 
The United States feels Pakistan is not doing enough to combat the militant networks. Pakistan, for its part, says most of the fighters are based in Afghanistan and that international forces have failed to neutralize them.
 
Retired Pakistani Lieutenant General Talat Masood said the military has consistently pushed against the militants in the tribal northwest region. He said the feeling in Pakistan, however, is that a major operation against them now could galvanize all the various militant groups to join forces.
 
"... [it] will create hell for Pakistan, including not only giving resistance in these areas in the tribal belt, but also creating a wave of terrorist attacks in the country," said Masood. "So there is this genuine fear in Pakistan, that is why they don’t want to touch the hornets’ nest.”

The talks between Allen and Kayani are aimed at trying to resolve these major differences.
 
Allen’s meeting in Islamabad Thursday coincided with talks in Washington between the head of Pakistan’s intelligence services, Lieutenant General Zahirul Islam, and CIA chief David Petraeus.
 
Masood said the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani network have taken full advantage of the rocky relationship between the allies.
 
“It is a complete failure of all the three countries, the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan. Because of their lack of cooperation, their lack of confidence has given rise to the strength of the militants and they have exploited it very intelligently,” said Masood.

He said the latest talks signal an improvement, but until the countries agree on how to deal with the militant groups, it is difficult to see how they will move forward.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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