'Betrayed' Pakistan army chief won't ask for further USA aid

'Betrayed' Pakistan army chief won't ask for further USA aid

'Betrayed' Pakistan army chief won't ask for further USA aid

Ghafoor said the army chief told the US general the entire Pakistani nation "felt betrayed over USA recent statements despite decades of cooperation".

The move, first announced by Trump in a New Year's Day tweet, sparked indignation in Pakistan, which has long denied the USA accusations of militant support, and accused Washington of dismissing the sacrifices it has made in the war on extremism. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said that Votel in his call to Gen. Qamer Javed Bajwa reiterated Washington's concern about Afghans using Pakistan as a staging ground for attacks inside Afghanistan.

For his part, Gen. Bajwa told Votel the "entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed" over the United States statements.

Trump's administration last week announced the suspension of about Dollars 2 billion in security aid to nuclear-armed Pakistan - officially a U.S. ally - over accusations that Islamabad is playing a double game in Afghanistan.

The spokesman said that during the conversation with Votel, General Bajwa noted Pakistan was fully aware of USA concerns about the activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and that steps were being taken to counter them.

The Pakistani military said both Votel and an unnamed US senator phoned Bajwa to discuss security cooperation "over the week".

Head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel spoke by phone with Pakistan's army chief offering assurances that the United States will not unilaterally strike targets inside Pakistan, a spokesman for Pakistan's military said on Friday. It added that Bajwa told Votel Pakistan was fully aware of the USA concerns regarding activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and is already undertaking several operations against militants.

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The Pakistani assertion that Votel said no unilateral action inside Pakistan was being considered may have referred to the possibility of cross-border U.S. drone strikes and other military missions targeting Taliban and other militant figures outside the border area. He also acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan.

It said Bajwa assured Votel that Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan.

The ISPR spokesman said that during the conversation with Votel, General Bajwa noted Pakistan was fully aware of US concerns about the activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and that steps were being taken to counter them.

"We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider and might lead to a positive path forward", US Central Command spokesman Air Force Colonel John Thomas said.

Such a move, however, is likely to provoke Islamabad to block air and ground routes that USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops depend on to conduct counterterrorism operations and transport vital military supplies to landlocked Afghanistan.

Pakistan will continue its antiterrorism efforts as well as support for peace efforts in Afghanistan.

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