Washington: Pakistan has allowed the United States military and its coalition partners in Afghanistan to maintain a presence in Quetta, Balochistan, the US Department of Defence told Congress in a report.
“Pakistan Army General Headquarters recently approved an ODRP and Coalition presence at the PAKMIL 12 Corps HQ in Quetta, Balochistan,” the Pentagon said in its report on the ‘Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan’.
It said that while the US government “recognises the tremendous effort continuous PAKMIL operations represent for the Pakistan Government, insurgent safe havens along the border will remain the primary problem to achieving a secure and stable Afghanistan.”
“One initiative toward this end is increasing the cooperation between Afghanistan, ISAF, and Pakistan Forces along the border to provide a more comprehensive approach to eradicating the insurgency,” it added.
The report said that overall, US relations with the PAKMIL have improved. “There have been many positive steps taken to dismantle extremist networks and deny terrorists safe havens in Pakistan. There is still much work to be done, but there is a positive trend line toward achieving the overall strategic goals,” it maintained.
The report also took notice of the importance of India’s role in Afghanistan, saying, “India’s presence in Afghanistan cannot be understood without considering the tense, fragile relationship between Pakistan and India. In the beginning of the reporting period, April 26-27, President Karzai visited New Delhi. The visit was seen as successful from both sides, with India reaffirming its commitment to Afghanistan as a reliable partner.”
“India continues to be one of Afghanistan’s largest assistance donors, providing USD 1.3 billion funding for major infrastructure projects like power transmission, power lines, roads, etc. Work on the Salma hydroelectric dam in Herat Province continues. In addition, India provides agriculture assistance and has increased access to degree scholarships and training programs,” it added.
The report declared that the long-term stability and security of Afghanistan was intertwined in the dynamics of the region and the continuing influence, both positive and negative, of Afghanistan’s neighbours.