WASHINGTON: Top US General Joseph Votel has said that Pakistan cooperation is must to bring durable political settlement in Afghanistan and adding that US continues to work closely with Pakistan to accomplish the target.
General Joseph said this on Thursday during a press briefing. He said that Pakistan is the key player in the region and its cooperation is must for sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan .
Votel said he had seen positive signs from Islamabad but stressed that he wanted to see Pakistan put more pressure on Pakistan-based militants fighting in Afghanistan , including by arresting, expelling or targeting them.
The remarks come amid growing speculation about moves to open talks with the Taliban following an unprecedented three-day ceasefire in Afghanistan during last month’s Eid holiday.
The Taliban have rejected talks with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, which they see as illegitimate and instead insisted they would only talk with the United States.
Votel portrayed it more as a regular assessment than a wholesale review and suggested that he expected it would confirm progress, however uneven, in the nearly 17-year-old war.
Officials said Trump has shown signs of frustration over the lack of progress since he unveiled a strategy last August that committed to an open-ended deployment of US military advisers, trainers and special forces and increased air support for Afghan security forces. The stated US goal is to push the Taliban militants to work toward a peace agreement with the Kabul government.
Trump was opposed to remaining in America’s longest war, but was convinced by his advisers to press ahead.
He authorized last year the deployment of an additional 3,000 US troops, bringing the total to around 15,000.