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Commanders discuss efforts for rapprochement with Kabul

Commanders discuss efforts for rapprochement with Kabul

ISLAMABAD: The military’s command on Tuesday deliberated on the future direction of the counter-terrorism operations in the country. At their monthly meeting, the top commanders reviewed efforts being made to revive rapprochement with Afghanistan and discussed escalating tensions with India.

“An exhaustive review of professional matters, internal and external security situation including the ongoing and future operations against terrorism, was carried out,” a brief statement on the corps commanders meeting chaired by Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif at the General Headquarters said.

Over the last few weeks, military officials have spoken about “future operations against terrorism”, but would not elaborate.

It is anticipated that in the next phase, the government would get tough with the seminaries. Presence of the army chief at a meeting of Tanzeem Ittehad-ul-Madaris on Monday, according to observers, was a good indication that the military might be given a role in the scrutiny of seminaries and taking action against those involved in unscrupulous activities.

The military is currently conducting Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan, which has entered its final phase with the launch of the ground offensive in Shawal. Intelligence based operations are also being conducted against terrorist groups in other parts of the country.

Army Chief Gen Sharif claimed at the Defence Day ceremony that the armed forces would not “relent until all terrorists, their financiers, abettors, facilitators and sympathisers are brought to justice”.

Gen Sharif had also vowed to take the operations in Karachi and Balochistan to their logical conclusion.

Afghanistan, according to a source, was also discussed at length during the corps commanders meeting.

Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz visited Afghanistan last Friday to pacify Afghan leaders, who were angry over a spate of high-profile attacks in Kabul in August, and nudge them to resume peace talks with Taliban.

In his Defence Day speech, Gen Sharif blamed the latest rupture in ties to “inimical forces … bent upon undermining … efforts” for reconciliation and hoped that their moves would not succeed.

Tensions with India and Gen Sharif’s response to his Indian counterpart Gen Dalbir Singh’s threat of “short war” were also discussed, the source said.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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