While the deadlock between Islamabad and Washington over the resumption of Nato supplies remains persistent, the Pakistan Army and the Western military alliance are actively involved in ‘border coordination’ with a top Isaf commander expected to arrive here sometime tomorrow (Wednesday).
According to military, Isaf (International Security Assistance Force) Commander General John Allen is likely to visit Pakistan on June 27. “He will call on Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The interaction will focus on reviewing the progress made in the implementation of recently evolved border coordination measures/standing operating procedures,” a statement said.
Despite the latest tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan over cross-border incursions into the former’s territory from Afghan side, which continued since Friday, the relations between Pakistan’s military and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) are not as stressful as they appear.
The military officials on Monday said the army ‘strongly’ protested with Afghan authorities over the beheading of seven Pakistani soldiers in Lower Dir, but did not mention if any protest was launched with the Nato-led Isaf that is primarily responsible for maintaining security in Kunar and Nuristan provinces. The Isaf had also launched a large-scale military offensive in both the provinces in November last year to take on militants in the region.
Isaf Military Spokesperson General Carsten Jacobson, when approached, said General Allen’s visit was aimed at focussing on enhanced border cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Nato-led ISAF.
“Border coordination is inevitably essential for secure and peaceful borderlands. To defeat the menace of militancy, it is imperative that all the sides stand cognisant of the importance of mutual cooperation – by engaging in active coordination-to improve working relationship – that would help defeat terrorism.”
The spokesperson denied the reports, when asked whether General Allen’s arrival was in the backdrop of Washington’s inclination to press Pakistan for resuming Nato supplies.
“The outstanding issues are taken up for debates at the appropriate forums. The general’s upcoming visit, like I said before, is for holding discussions on improving border coordination,” he told The Nation via Skype.
In a seemingly interlinked development on Monday, General Kayani met UK Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards. “The visiting dignitary is in Pakistan to attend the National Security Dialogue between Pakistan and the UK. The two discussed the matters of mutual interest,” a brief military statement said.
Gen Allen expected to meet Kayani tomorrow