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Pakistan will continue counter-terror operations without US funds, Army chief tells CENTCOM commander

The government of Pakistan will continue counter-terror operations despite the U.S. decision to cut certain security aid, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa told the head of U.S. Central Command when they spoke this week.

The Pakistan Armed Forces media wing Inter Services Public Relations released a statement Friday on Bajwa’s call with General Joseph Votel.

Votel and an unidentified U.S. senator both called the Army chief this week after U.S. President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of giving safe haven to terrorists the Americans target in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it withheld $900 million in security assistance for Pakistan.

“COAS said that Pakistan shall continue its sincere counter terrorism efforts even without US financial support in accordance with our national interest and shall remain committed to bring it to its logical conclusion along with other stake holders,” the ISPR statement said.

Bajwa further told the U.S. general that Islamabad was aware of the U.S. concerns that terrorists from Afghanistan were operating on Pakistani soil, but “the entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed” over the U.S. statements “despite decades of cooperation.”

Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said Tuesday that Islamabad had suspended military and intelligence cooperation with the U.S. in the wake of the Pentagon’s withholding $900 million in security assistance for Pakistan.

U.S. Army Colonel Robert Manning told reporters on Tuesday that $400 million could be released if the Department of Defense certifies that the Pakistani government has made significant progress against the Haqqani network.

“U.S. Central Command is in continuous communication with the Pakistan military, including recurring conversations between General Votel and Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Bajwa,” Colonel John J. Thomas, U.S. Central Command spokesman, told The Defense Post.

“We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward.”

Votel told Bajwa that the “ongoing turbulence remains a temporary phase” and that the U.S. is not contemplating unilateral action inside Pakistan, according to ISPR.

Pakistan counter-strike on Trump threatens US anti-terror efforts in Afghanistan

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