Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Web Desk

Militant sanctuaries in Pakistan biggest challenge to Afghan stability, says US general

Web Desk
US Army Lieutenant General Austin Miller. Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Michael Noggle/US Army

A United States Army general has expressed dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, calling the country’s actions “contradictory”.

Lieutenant General Austin Miller, US President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead allied forces in the 17-year-old Afghan war, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the biggest challenge to stabilising Afghanistan remains the militant sanctuaries in Pakistan.

“We should have high expectations that they [Pakistan] are part of the solution, not just diplomatically but from a security standpoint as well,” he said, as reported by Bloomberg. 

Miller acknowledged that Pakistan has made “many sacrifices” and “its security forces have fought bravely,” but said, “We have not yet seen these counterterrorism efforts against anti-Pakistan militants translate into definitive actions against Afghan Taliban or Haqqani leaders residing in Pakistan.”

The 57-year old military veteran, who as a captain led a ground assault during the October 1993 “Black Hawk Down” operation in Mogadishu, Somalia, is now head of the Joint Special Operations Command, the unit of elite US commando forces conducting counterterror operations in Afghanistan.

He has been tasked with executing the Trump-backed Pentagon strategy that abandons any public timeline for withdrawing about 14,000 US troops and assigns them to work more closely to train and assist Afghan troops.

Trump has, in the past, also accused Pakistan of harbouring “agents of chaos” and providing safe havens to militant groups waging an insurgency against a US-backed government in Kabul.

Pakistan estimates there have been 70,000 casualties in militant attacks, including 17,000 martyred, since it joined the US “war on terrorism” after the September 11, 2001, attacks.