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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid