Islamabad: Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee has indirectly rejected Washington’s damning comments against the Pakistan military’s counter-terrorism efforts, and said that it fully trusted the Army strategy for fighting militancy.
The JCSC- Pakistan’s highest military coordination body- focused largely on the strained military and intelligence ties with the US, especially in the context of a recent White House report criticising the Pakistan Army’s campaign against Taliban insurgents in tribal areas, and US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen’s statement accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of having links with the Haqqani network.
The meeting was presided over by JCSC chairman General Khalid Shameem Wynne, and attended by Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, ISI director general Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha, and other top officers.
Pakistani commanders and intelligence personnel were incensed by Admiral Mullen’s public allegations followed by reports in the western media that US officials at the Guantanamo Bay considered the ISI as a terrorist supporting entity, though they did not express their sentiments publicly, the Dawn reports.
The presence of Lieutenant General Pasha, who is not a regular member of the committee, was a clear indication of what dominated the discussions.
The ISI chief is reported to have briefed the participants on his talks with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta during his visit to Washington for sorting out differences between the two spy agencies.
A statement issued after the meeting quoted the JCSC chairman as having “expressed complete satisfaction on the operational preparedness and comprehensive strategy being followed by the armed forces to combat the terrorist threat”.
It was evident from the statement that General Wynne was responding to the latest White House assessment, which said that Pakistan lacked a clear strategy for combating insurgency, and also accused the Pakistan military of being unable to ‘hold and build’ areas that had been cleared of militants.