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Conflicting signals

Within the past few days conflicting signals have emanated from Washington that symbolizes use of stick more than carrot. The US military leadership considers Pakistan role as part of the solution in the resolution of Afghan conflict, notwithstanding certain reservations expressed in a diluted tone and tenor. But on the contrary, the civilian leadership dubs it as part of the problem.

US army , Lieutenant General, Austin Miller, who has been tipped to head the US military operation in Afghanistan, acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices during the war on terror and said the country is “part of the solution for restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan.”The senior US military commander said, “We should have high expectations that they are part of the solution not just diplomatically but from security stand point as well.”However, the incoming US General also described Pakistan’s role as contradictory during a briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

On the contrary Alice Wells, the US Special Envoy for Central and South Asia to the US Committee on Foreign Affairs said that Pakistan has been put “on notice” to extend visible cooperation against safe heavens of the Afghan Taliban on its soil. The Senior US diplomat told that Trump administration has been working with Pakistan to dismantle the decade-old- safe heavens of Afghan Taliban on its soil. But in the same breath Alice Wells said that the US is also encouraging reconcilable elements with in the Afghan Taliban to stop fighting in effort to reduce violence and make the environment conducive for reconciliation.

Alice said that the US has made it clear that it supports peace talks between Kabul and Taliban and it is willing to facilitate any peace initiative between the two sides. She said Trump administration would support all stake holders, including the Afghan government, to reach a negotiated settlement to decade’s long old conflict and assures that Afghanistan did not become a safe heaven for terrorists in future

It is very unfortunate that after the announcement 10 days ceasefire by the Afghan government and stopping hostilities by afghan Taliban during three days of Eidul Fitr incidents of violence occurred on the second and third day of Eid. On last Saturday 36 people were killed in Nangrahar Province in a suicide attack including civilians, government forces and Taliban fighters. IS has claimed the responsibility of the attack. On Sunday 18 people were killed and more than 30 wounded in suicide attack, but no group has accepted the responsibility of the attack. After the expiry of ceasefire Taliban Killed 16 policemen and two civilians in the Western Baghdais province.

Afghan Taliban controls more than 40 percent of area of Afghanistan and has their strong holds there. The US allegations of their safe heavens on the soil of Pakistan are baseless as the military operation Zarb-e-Azb in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, now merged with KP, has wiped out all the sanctuaries of militant outfits. Fencing along the Pak-Afghan border is going on besides increase in check posts. Operation Radul Fasad is in progress through the country. Hence, the US allegations of Afghan Taliban safe heaven in Pakistan are nothing but arm-twisting of a trusted ally in this region.

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