Pak warns US against ‘mindless, hasty’ Afghan withdrawal in 2014

Islamabad, Dec 24: Pakistan Defence Minister Naveed Qamar has cautioned the US against a “mindless, hasty withdrawal” in 2014, saying it would threaten collapse of everything the international forces have built in Afghanistan over years.

Qamar, in an interview to Voice of America, said that bilateral understanding has improved on how to counter terrorism in Pakistani border regions and promote political reconciliation in neighbouring Afghanistan. He said his country hopes the US will soon unfreeze other promised military aid to keep the momentum going, reports The Nation.

Bilateral cooperation has been gradually improving since July when Pakistan unblocked NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. The latest demonstration of normalizing ties came earlier this month when the Obama administration notified Congress it would reimburse nearly 700 million dollars to Islamabad for the cost of conducting anti-terrorism operations on the Afghan border.

Qamar said there is now a better understanding in Washington of his country’s reservations about an all-out war against militants on its soil.

Pakistani leaders said that a renewed consultative process between Islamabad and Washington on how to promote Afghan political reconciliation also indicates convergence of views on achieving the common objective of ending the Afghan war. Islamabad is also apprehensive about an abrupt total pull out by foreign troops from Afghanistan without putting in place a stable political process.

Afghan diplomatic sources in Islamabad also agree that there are clear signs Pakistan has stepped forward to help facilitate the political reconciliation process inside the country. These sources believe this readiness appears to be driven by fears of a spillover of the conflict into Pakistan if the political system in Kabul collapsed following the withdrawal of foreign troops. (ANI)