Pakistan apprises U.S. to address concerns for moving forward: FO

ICC Under 19 World Cup- File

The tension between Pakistan and the USA has grown over Washington's complaints that the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that target American troops in Afghanistan are allowed to take shelter on Pakistani soil.

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

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.

Since Trump took office, there have been several drone strikes in Pakistan's border region but they have not so far gone deeper into Pakistani territory, though Islamabad believes that is on a menu of punitive actions the USA administration is considering.

Trump, in a New Year tweet, said that the United States had foolishly given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over 15 years and was rewarded with "nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools".

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Gen Votel said the view that Pakistan was not being helpful was hurting its (Pakistan's) view in Washington. COAS said that Pakistan shall continue its honest counter terrorism efforts even without USA 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 statement came after Trump froze up to $1.9 billion in funding to Pakistan, in a move created to force its military and intelligence apparatus to halt its support for the Afghan Taliban and other Islamist groups.

The statement added that Bajwa told Votel that "the entire Pakistani nation" felt betrayed by the recent USA statements despite decades of cooperation.

Pakistan was initially fearful that Trump would launch a strike in Pakistan - similar to the secret 2011 raid that captured Osama bin Laden outside Islamabad - and put its forces on alert the day the aid suspension was announced.

According to Reuters, the US Centcom did not comment on the content of the conversation between Gen Votel and Gen Bajwa.

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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 United States drone strikes and other military missions targeting Taliban and other militant figures outside the border area.

USA and Pakistani officials say neither has happened, and in conversations over the last week the two sides have tried to move past Trump's incendiary rhetoric. "We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward", Thomas told AFP.

General Votel acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan's hospitality to Afghan refugees was not misused in any way, the ISPR said, adding that the USA general agreed that both countries stood to gain from the cooperative engagement.

Since Trump took office, there have been several drone strikes in Pakistan's border region but they have not so far gone deeper into Pakistani territory, though Islamabad believes that is on a menu of punitive actions the U.S. administration is considering. So far, Pakistan has not done so.

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