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.
    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.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora