US’ report on terror ‘misinterpreting ground situation’: Pak

A White House report says Pakistan is failing to defeat militants.

Last Updated: Apr 07, 2011, 13:57 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas has rejected the White House report that gave a harshly critical assessment of Pakistan’s efforts towards “defeating the insurgency” thriving in the country.

The bi-annual assessment to US Congress not only painted a grim picture of the deficits in Pakistan’s counter-insurgency efforts, but also mentioned the reluctance of the Pakistan military in accepting “US-provided helicopter maintenance teams”, part of a broader concern about letting American troops operate openly on the ground in Pakistan.

The report alleged that along with Afghanistan, Pakistan continues to be the operational base of al Qaeda and its affiliates threatening global peace, and noted that the Pakistani military’s effort to clear militants from Mohmand, a part of the northwest Pakistan’s tribal areas, was failing for the third time in two years.

Major General Athar Abbas rejected the White House report for having misinterpreted the situation on the ground, particularly the Mohmand operation, Dawn reports.

The latest phase of the Mohmand operation was taking place in the areas that had been left out in previous campaigns, he said, adding that the fight against militants was an uphill task and was progressing slowly.

Major General Abbas also reminded the Americans of the successes in Swat, Bajaur and Orakzai despite capacity constraints.

The spokesman also contradicted the report’s claim that Pakistan was not accepting US help for maintaining its helicopters, saying that the Americans did not provide spare parts and more helicopters in time to meet the military’s requirement, which was higher at the moment because of the excessive flying of its current fleet during last year’s floods.

The White House assessment is understood to have further annoyed the Pakistan military, which has deployed 147,000 troops in the country’s tribal areas to fight militants thriving there.