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Pakistan Critical to US South Asian Strategy for Afghanistan

Why is Pakistan Critical to US South Asian Strategy for Afghanistan? General Joseph Votel (US Central Command) said that violence continues to wreak havoc in Afghanistan and a lot of work needs to be done in the worn-torn nation. For the overall South Asia Strategy to succeed, Pakistans assistance and commitment is critical.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters, General Votel said Afghanistan’s defence forces are evolving, but they need more time and support to confront Taliban and ISIS terrorists.

“They are fighting and they are suffering serious casualties, but they are also very offensive-minded, inflicting heavy losses on the Taliban and ISIS fighters,” Votel said.

According to General Votel, the most compelling evidence of success was displayed recently when the conditions-based approach allowed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan national defence forces to call a nationwide ceasefire.

Even though the cease-fire was temporary and conditional, but all groups respected the terms and conditions, the general added. “The cease-fire manifested the growing want for peace, not only from the Afghan people but also from the Taliban and ISIS fighters,” Votel said.

US Hitting Taliban Hard?

Other instances of ongoing armed offensive from the Afghan Army and US allies includes extensive strikes targeting revenue-generation means of Taliban, and making great progress in increasing the coalition’s train, advise and assist mission, he remarked.

Afghanistan’s national security forces are planning unprecedented rearrangement this year, moving more than 30,000 border police and Afghan National Civil Order Police from the Interior Ministry to the Defense Ministry.

“Through the implementation of the inherent law, they are replacing traditional leadership with a new generation of Afghan officers whose main experience is driven by the relationship with the US and other NATO forces, the general explained.

“This year, 29 of 39 NATO allies and partners expanded their military or financial commitments to the Afghan cause. We also welcome our Gulf partners from the UAE and Qatar to the Resolute Support Mission”, said the General

Pakistan’s Role in Afghanistan

Votel said Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan is extremely critical. “This is a South Asia strategy, and cooperation from Pakistan remains vital for achieving the overall purpose of a permanent political solution in Afghanistan,” Votel said.

“We continue to work closely with Pakistan to assist them to fulfil the vital role that they have indicated they want to play. Now is the time for Pakistan to step forward,” Votel concluded.

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