Amid rise in militant attacks, Pakistan's military chief meets US commander

Amid rise in militant attacks, Pakistan's military chief meets US commander

Meeting comes amid growing militant attacks in Pakistan, leading to war of words between Islamabad, Kabul

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Commander of the US CENTCOM, Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, met with Pakistan's army chief Gen. Asim Munir on Monday to discuss a variety of issues, including the region’s security situation.

The meeting, which comes on the heels of increasing attacks allegedly carried out by Afghanistan-based militants on Pakistani security forces in recent months, was held at the army headquarters in the northeastern garrison city of Rawalpindi, said a statement from the army's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations.

It also follows Munir's recent visit to Washington's arch-rival Iran.

“During the meeting matters of mutual interest, regional security situation, and defense cooperation were discussed,” the statement added.

The two reiterated the desire to further enhance bilateral relations between the two armies in "all fields."

Kurilla, for his part, "acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s successes in the fight against terrorism and Pakistan’s continued efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region."

Pakistan Army, last week, warned the Afghan Taliban against "providing safe havens" to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and said the TTP militants’ "safe havens and sophisticated weapons" pose a security risk to the country.

Pakistan has witnessed a steady increase in militant attacks in the first six months of the current year, claiming the lives of 389 people, including soldiers, across the South Asian nation.

Around 271 attacks occurred during the period.

The TTP is a conglomerate of several militant groups in Pakistan that Islamabad claims are currently inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan military chief Munir has claimed that the TTP militants have "freedom of action" across the border in Afghanistan and urged Kabul not to allow its soil to be used against any country.

Later, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif also accused Afghanistan of not fulfilling its obligations as a neighbor.

Asif said Kabul is not abiding by the commitments made in the 2020 Doha agreement.

However, the Afghan Taliban asked Pakistan to prefer peace instead of war and assured that Kabul will not allow anyone to use its soil against Islamabad.

During a meeting with Pakistan's Special Representative for Afghanistan Asif Durrani last Thursday, acting Afghan Deputy Prime Minister Maulavi Abdul Kabir said that Pakistan is not only their neighbor country but also a Muslim brother and Kabul wants lasting peace there.

“We have seen the bitter experiences of wars. We advise Pakistan to prefer peace instead of wars,” Kabir told Durrani.

*Riyaz ul Khaliq contributed to the report from Istanbul

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