Pakistan still supporting Taliban: Gen Votel

Saturday, 17 March 2018 03:17 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 140 times

A top US general has said that despite a new US policy of pressuring Pakistan, Islamabad is still supporting the Afghan Taliban.
General Joseph Votel, the commander of US Central Command, was speaking during a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Asked on the question of continued Pakistani support to the Taliban, he replied: “I cannot tell you that we have seen decisive changes in the areas in which we’re working, but I remain very well-engaged with my partner to ensure that we are moving forward on this.”
Asked about uptick in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and their link to support from Pakistan, the general said: “Having sanctuary in Pakistan or having support from other actors in the region certainly is an aspect of the Taliban’s success here.”
US announced a new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia in August last year that involves putting pressure on Pakistan over militant safe havens.
The Washington Times citing an intelligence source close to Afghan border region said Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service is providing both protection and material support to the Taliban in areas between Quetta and the Afghan border.
The unidentified source also said that ISI also conducts security patrols in facilitating Taliban transit.
Taliban have carried out a number of high-profile attacks in capital Kabul in recent months.
US commander of international forces in Afghanistan, John Nicholson, has said that Kabul becoming main focus of US battle against Taliban.
“Kabul is our main effort. To harden Kabul, to protect the people of Kabul and the international community that are here,” Nicholson told reporters on Wednesday.
Nicholson said that growth of Kabul population from about 500,000 people in 2001 to 5 million today had created a haphazard sprawl that was hard to secure the city.
“I’ll just be very candid. We have a lot of work to do,” Nicholson said. “This growth at that rate has meant that there’s a lot of sprawl. It’s easy to get in and out of the city.”

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