IS Phenomenon Will Not Be Allowed in Pakistan, Afghanistan: General Raheel
Washington, DC: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has claimed the phenomenon of militant organization Islamic State (IS) will not be allowed in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He made this observation at a reception hosted by Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani in honor of the visiting military delegation led by General Sharif. The reception was attended by senior American officials from the State and Defense Departments including US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Dan Feldman.
He also categorically stated that the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation targets all militants without any discrimination and is aimed at defeating the menace of terrorism squarely.
“I would like to openly say that this (operation) is against all hues and colors, and it is without any discrimination, whether it is Haqqani network or TTP or anything”, he said.
The army chief said the Zarb-i-Azb operation has been launched with great commitment and sincerity after consultations with the political government and with the backing of the entire nation, which is proud of the army's achievements in the fight against terror.
Zarb-i-Azb is not just a military offensive but a concept to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The anti-terror campaign is not restricted to Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas but covers the whole country, he said.
The COAS saw close counter-terrorism cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the months ahead and was confident of establishing peace and stability in the region.
He also expressed satisfaction over his visit to the United States and said he had very useful meetings with his counterparts on military-to-military relationship.
In his remarks, Ambassador Jilani referred to Pakistan's determined fight against terror and improving Pakistan-Afghanistan relations at an important time for the region and said such developments require closer Pakistan-US cooperation. “On one hand, things are looking up, new challenges are also emerging which require good cooperation between our two countries”.
The ambassador noted defense relations are an important component of the wide-ranging Pakistan-US relationship.
In a brief interaction with the media, US Special Representative Dan Feldman said that the Army chief had constructive and positive meetings during his visit. Ambassador Jilani accompanied the delegation to meetings at the Pentagon and the Capitol Hill.
General Raheel Sharif also met with National Security Advisor (NSA) Susan Rice at the White House in Washington on Thursday.
The Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) said General Sharif and Susan Rice held in-depth discussions on the ongoing Pakistan-US security issues and expressed satisfaction on the overall positive trajectory in the bilateral relationship.
Both sides recognized the importance of reinforcing stability in Afghanistan. In this regard, NSA advisor Rice appreciated the high level exchanges between Pakistan and Afghanistan following the inauguration of the new Unity Government led by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Both sides also acknowledged the ongoing need for close coordination and cooperation for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.