Pakistani commanders meet after U.S. criticism
Around half of the U.S. war supplies to Afghanistan are trucked over Pakistani soil, and even as it accuses Islamabad of complicity with Afghan insurgents, Washington knows that it likely will need Islamabad’s cooperation in bringing them to the negotiating table. Washington also is concerned about the danger of further instability in the nuclear-armed state.
The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. James Mattis, called for continued cooperation after a meeting with Gen. Kayani in Islamabad. In a statement issued Sunday by the U.S. Embassy, Gen. Mattis emphasized “the need for persistent engagement among the militaries of the U.S., Pakistan and other states in the region.”
Afghan officials also have accused Pakistan of stoking instability in Afghanistan. The Afghan Defense Ministry accused the Pakistani arm Sunday of firing more than 300 artillery and rockets into the country’s northeast during the past five days.
The provinces of Kunar and Nuristan are a haven for hard-core insurgent groups fighting in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and have relatively few Afghan or foreign forces. Pakistan has complained that militants from the area have staged repeated cross-border attacks that have killed Pakistani security forces and civilians.
Gen. Abbas said he had asked security officials in the northwest about the Afghan allegations and was waiting for a reply. He said those officials were surprised by the accusations since no activity had been reported in the area.
“I assume this is not correct news,” said Gen. Abbas, referring to the Afghan allegations.
Associated Press writers Chris Brummitt and Zarar Khan contributed to this report.