Kayani urges Nato to understand Pak strategy

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BRUSSELS (Agencies) – Top officers from Pakistan, Nato and Russia gave unanimous backing on Wednesday to the new international strategy in Afghanistan, the head of the alliance’s Military Committee said.

“There was a feeling in the room that we are getting it right,” Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola told reporters after talks in Brussels with chiefs of military staff from more than 60 countries.

Di Paola said Russian chief of staff Nikolai Makarov and his Pakistan counterpart Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had underlined that Nato’s success in defeating the insurgency would have important repercussions for their nations.

“We have a greater interest than you that you succeed, that’s what he said,” Makarov had told the meeting of top brass at Nato headquarters, Di Paola said.

Gen Kayani “said much the same thing as Nikolai: we have an even greater interest than you to have a peaceful, stable Afghanistan,” he said.

Di Paola said Gen Kayani was “incredibly in tune” with the approach of US Gen Stanley McChrystal, who also attended, to put the protection of Afghan civilians at the heart of the international strategy.

Gen Kayani also spoke of “the same comprehensive approach to the problem of the northwest tribal area,” where Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters have rear bases across the border in Pakistan, Di Paola said.

“That made me believe that the tide is turning, and so we will see at the end of this year the light on the horizon,” the Italian admiral said.

Addressing the two-day meeting, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani urged on Nato to realise Pakistan’s strategy and perspective on region’s security situation and called for enhancement of Pakistan’s role in finding a solution to the Afghanistan problem.

He said in order to win war on terror the confidence between Nato and Pakistani forces is needed along with cooperation in intelligence sectors.

Nato and Pakistan can only defeat their common enemy if both sides have confidence on each other, he said, adding that sharing of intelligence can play a vital role.

The COAS said that Nato needed to understand Pakistan’s strategy to root out terrorism from Swat and Malakand region. He also emphasized the need to increase Pakistan’s role on the solution of Afghanistan issue as peace in Pakistan is interlinked with peace in Afghanistan.

Islamabad is in much more realisation of the ground realities in Pakistan than any other country, he said.

He further said that the International Community should realise that through a comprehensive strategy “we achieved major success against terrorists in Swat and Malakand”.

“Besides achieving military success, we also helped rehabilitate more that 2.3 million people who had been displaced,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Army managed to get a civil structure in place over there.

He said that Pakistan is playing a pivotal role for peace and stability in the region keeping in view our national interests.

The COAS along with 42 other Defence Chief are attending the conference. Gen Kayani also gave briefing on the efforts of Pakistan to establish peace in the region and urged the members to take a detail view of the strategy.

Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen underlined that successful operation in South Waziristan will pave way for improvement in Afghanistan situation besides establishment of law and order there.

According to military and diplomatic sources, he expressed these views during his meeting with COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at the Nato headquarter. Host of issues came under discussion in the meeting like cooperation between Pakistan and Nato countries, security of the region, Afghanistan matters, ongoing operation against militants in South Waziristan and others. The COAS also hold separate meetings with Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Giampaolo Di Paolo, Chairman Military Committee of Nato, to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Acclaiming the services and sacrifices of the Pakistan Army, Rasmussen said the Nato wants strong relations with Pakistan, adding that peace in Afghanistan would ensure stability of entire South Asia.

He further said that joint strategy is required for peace in Pakistan. He lauded the prudent policies of Gen Kayani. The Pakistan Army Chief said that following successful operation in Swat and Malakand, Pak Army is achieving similar positive results in South Waziristan.

The Alliance said it had secured new pledges of support for its Afghan operation, and its top military officer said he believed international solidarity meant the tide had turned in the struggle against the Taliban.

“The mood has changed, the tide has changed: we will succeed, we are convinced we will succeed,” Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola said.

“We will see at the end of this year the light on the horizon,” he said.

General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of Nato and US troops in Afghanistan, said foreign fighters allied with the Taliban could not be “reintegrated”.

Plans by Kabul to persuade Taliban members to lay down their arms would not apply to foreigners who had joined the insurgency, often for ideological reasons, Gen McChrystal suggested in a Nato video posted on the website on Tuesday.

“I think what we probably will find is where we are successful in decreasing the Taliban, the foreigners just won’t have anywhere to go,” he said.

“Some of them will obviously be killed or captured because… this is just what they want to do,” he said. “Some will leave I think. But I think they will be increasingly irrelevant.”

McChrystal also said that he expected some Afghan insurgents would not formally change sides in the war but merely choose to stop attacking Kabul government forces.

In a television interview this month, McChrystal said the US-led force was beginning to “turn the tide” against the Taliban.

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