The United States Chairman Joint Cheifs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, said he and his country was committed to the US-Pakistan relationship, which has been strained in recent weeks as Washington piles pressure to crack down on militants.
“Do we agree on everything right now? No we don‘t. But are we committed to a more effective relationship with Pakistan? We are. And I‘m not giving up on that,” Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters during a trip to Brussels.
The United States has long blamed ‘safe-havens in Pakistan’ for prolonging the war in Afghanistan, giving insurgents, including from the Haqqani network, a place to plot attacks and rebuild their forces.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump’s administration announced a plan to suspend up to roughly $2 billion in US security assistance which it gives to Pakistan.
In a Twitter Post on the first day of 2018, Trump had accused Pakistan of ‘lying and deceit’ and providing safe havens to terrorists despite taking over $33 billion in aid.
In a possible a possible sign of efforts to improve relations, Alice Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, met Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua in Islamabad on Monday.
A statement from Foreign Ministry said Wells “acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in eradicating terrorism” and “underlined the need for strengthening intelligence cooperation” to fight terrorism.
Dunford was careful in his public remarks but made clear that Votel would continue to lead the military-to-military discussions. Dunford said he and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would also contribute to that dialogue.
“I‘m not going to talk about the relationship in public because I‘m committed to try to improve the relationship and I do believe that the military-to-military dialogue led by General Votel, with occasional reinforcement from Secretary Mattis, myself and others, is the right approach Dunford said.