February 20, 2024

Pakistani military chief, US protection secretary talk about regional safety, bilateral cooperation

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Military Workers Normal Asim Munir began his first working day in Washington on Wednesday with a gathering with the US Protection Secretary on the Pentagon, discussing regional safety developments in addition to prospects for bilateral protection cooperation.

Munir flew out of Islamabad on Sunday on his first official go to to the US since he turned military chief in November 2022. He reached the US capital on Tuesday afternoon after spending two days in Britain on what was reportedly a personal go to.

Washington has labored intently with Pakistani military chiefs over the many years on points starting from regional stability to combating militancy and the conflict in Afghanistan. Throughout Munir’s go to additionally, Pakistan’s ongoing deportation drive towards unlawful migrants, which has disproportionately hit Afghans, will nearly actually be a middle of discussions.

Pakistan has overtly mentioned its transfer to expel a whole lot of 1000’s of undocumented Afghans was a response to the unwillingness of the Taliban-led administration in Kabul to behave towards militants utilizing Afghanistan to hold out assaults in Pakistan.

Tens of 1000’s of Afghans, lots of whom have lived in Pakistan for many years, have needed to depart the nation, and authorities are rounding up many extra in raids throughout the nation. The US has shared with the federal government an inventory of greater than 25,000 Afghans it needs exempted from expulsion as they await visas for US resettlement.

“Secretary of Protection Lloyd J. Austin III hosted Pakistan’s Chief of Military Workers Normal Asim Munir on the Pentagon at present, the place the 2 officers mentioned current regional safety developments and potential areas for bilateral protection cooperation,” the Pentagon mentioned in a quick assertion on the assembly.

Munir can also be anticipated to satisfy US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan. He may additionally meet senior members of the US Home and the Senate.

Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been strained throughout former prime minister Imran Khan’s tenure from 2018-2022, with Washington accusing Islamabad of permitting Afghan Taliban militants to hunt refuge in Pakistan.

The connection between the 2 international locations soured additional when Khan claimed Washington had labored together with his political rivals and the navy to again a parliamentary transfer to oust him from workplace. All three have denied the allegations.

After Khan’s ouster from workplace, Islamabad’s relationship with Washington has improved following overtures from Pakistan, together with a go to by Munir’s predecessor, Normal (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, to Washington in October 2022. 

Munir’s touchdown within the US coincided with militants launching one of many deadliest assaults on the military lately, with bombers ramming an explosives-laden automobile right into a safety examine submit in northwest Pakistan, killing 23 troopers.

The Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, have stepped up assaults in Pakistan since they ended a cease-fire with Pakistan’s authorities in November 2022, days after Munir took workplace.

Authorities mentioned they’ve elevated their intelligence-based operations, killing greater than 500 militants since 2022.