Advertisement

World

Updated on: Friday, October 01, 2021, 12:50 PM IST

Continue to have candid conversations with Pakistan about concerns on safe havens along Afghan borders: Pentagon

Pakistani soldiers stand guard as stranded Afghan nationals return to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border  | Pic for representation | AFP Photo

Pakistani soldiers stand guard as stranded Afghan nationals return to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border | Pic for representation | AFP Photo

Advertisement

Washington: The US has been very honest about its concerns over the terrorist safe havens in Pakistan along with the border areas of Afghanistan, the Pentagon has said. Afghanistan and the US have criticised Pakistan in the past for allowing Taliban fighters to cross into Pakistan where they are provided safe havens and also receive medical treatment.

"We've been very honest about our concerns with Pakistan for a long time, about the safe havens that exist on their side of the border along that spine. And those concerns are still valid today," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters on Thursday at a news conference.

As Afghanistan's neighbour, Pakistan certainly has equities and responsibilities with respect to terrorism in that part of the world, Kirby said. "We continue to have candid conversations with Pakistani leaders about our concerns," he said in response to a question.

"I think it's important to continue to remind that the Pakistani people, likewise, have been rendered victim by terrorist threats that emanate from those groups and along that same border," he said.

While Kabul claims that Islamabad is sending thousands of militants to fight in the war-ravaged country and providing safe haven for the Taliban, Pakistan alleges that Afghanistan harbours the anti-Pakistani group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan -- the Pakistani Taliban -- and also the secessionist Balochistan Liberation Army.

The Pentagon had earlier said that said it has seen no evidence to corroborate reports that there were Pakistan nationals along with the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. “I have not seen anything to corroborate that report,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby had told reporters when asked about the reported allegations by former Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani that Pakistan had sent between 10,000 to 15,000 of its men along with the Taliban.

Kirby now also told reporters that the United States is within its rights to continue drone strikes inside Afghanistan. "We believe we have the authorities that we need to continue to protect the nation," he said.

The Taliban has accused the US of violating the withdrawal agreement by continuing to fly drones over Afghanistan and warned Americans against doing that in the future. "We have the authorities that we need to continue to defend our interests and the security of the American people there and around the world, and we're going to do that," Kirby said. He added that over-the-horizon operations don't always have to include unmanned aerial assets. "That we use unmanned aerial assets clearly is true, and the Secretary (of Defence) cited one that was just a week or two ago in Syria. But over-the-horizon doesn't have to mean unmanned. It doesn't even always have to mean aviation," he said.

"Over-the-horizon, as the Secretary defined it, means that the strike assets and the target analysis come from outside the country in which the operation occurs, and we can do that in a variety of means," he said.

Advertisement

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Friday, October 01, 2021, 12:50 PM IST
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement