In his testimony to the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday during a hearing on the situation in Afghanistan, US military commander General John Campbell said that aggressive military operations by Pakistan over the past year have applied “considerable pressure on extremists operating in the border region and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)”.
“Senior Pakistani military officers have repeatedly declared that they can no longer discriminate between ‘good and bad’ terrorists. They appear to be taking meaningful actions to back up their words,” the military commander told the US Senate Committee.
Although the US general praised Pakistan’s military operations against terrorist in its northwestern border region, he said that “additional pressure must still be applied against the Haqqani Network and the Taliban more broadly”.
The US general accepted that continues to have a role integral to peace and stability in Afghanistan, despite the fact that historical suspicions and competing interests often characterize the relationship between the two neighbouring countries.
“While difficulties are likely to persist past 2016, there are indicators that relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan could potentially thaw despite ongoing terrorist attacks in both countries,” he said in his testimony.
“Pakistan, like Afghanistan, has suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists and violent extremists. The recent Pakistani Taliban (TTP) attack on a Pakistan Air Force base serves as a case in point,” he said.
The common threat of violent extremism can still serve as a catalyst to improve cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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