Pakistan’s cooperation vital to achieve stability in Afghanistan: Gen. Miller

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Pakistan’s cooperation vital to achieve stability in Afghanistan: Gen. Miller

WASHINGTON: The commander nominated to take command of Resolute Support Mission on Monday stressed the importance of Pakistan’s cooperation to the success of the South Asia strategy, saying without Islamabad’s support, it would be difficult to achieve long-term stability in Afghanistan.
Army Maj. Gen. Austin S. Miller, speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee also stated that the mission in Afghanistan was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States, but urged the battle there could not be won through military alone.
Asked about his assessment of Pakistan’s role in the security situation in Afghanistan, Gen. Miller said that Pakistan’s cooperation is vital to the success of our South Asia strategy.
“Pakistan has made many sacrifices in the war against terrorism; its people have suffered greatly and its security forces have fought bravely,” he said but observed that more needs to be done by Pakistan in counter-terrorism efforts.
Replying to a question, he said that since the August 2017 announcement of the South Asia Strategy, there has been incremental positive changes in Pakistan’s behavior towards Afghanistan, particularly in the effort to improve its bilateral relationship with that country.
Saying that they still look for “conclusive evidence” that Pakistan shared the US vision of secure and stable Afghanistan, he said its participation in a peace process would be an indication of progress with which Pakistan can assist.
To a question, he said the US expects from Pakistan to contribute to an end to conflict in Afghanistan by exerting whatever influence it has on the Taliban to lower violence and participate in the peace process.
“Improved cooperation in the trade of goods and services and the movement of people will contribute greatly to our goal of stabilizing Afghanistan,” he added
Gen Miller said that Pakistan’s own stability and prosperity will benefit from peace in Afghanistan.
“We seek to partner with Pakistan,” he said while adding that Pakistan has much to gain from supporting the efforts of the 39-member coalition that is working to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
On the mission in Afghanistan, he said that it was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States.
“I’ve learned there are groups that want nothing more than to harm Americans,” Miller said as he testified before the committee as part of his confirmation process to replace Army Gen. John Nicholson as commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
“I’ve learned these groups thrive in ungoverned spaces. And I’ve also learned when we maintain pressure on them abroad, they struggle to organize and build the means to attack us,” he added.
Gen. Miller said that the core goal of the United States in Afghanistan was to ensure terrorists can never again use the country as a safe haven to threaten the United States or other members of the international community, according to Pentagon’s official website.
He also emphasized that the battle in Afghanistan could not be won through military victories and must be backed up by diplomacy with neighboring countries, political agreements inside Afghanistan and economic development.
If confirmed, Gen. Miller would oversee the NATO, train, advise and assist mission for Afghan forces and to handle the counterterrorism effort in the nation.
There are about 16,000 American service members based in Afghanistan as part of President Donald J. Trump’s South Asia strategy, and Miller said that the military portion was necessary to provide the space and security for other aspects of the South Asia strategy.
“I’ve had the honor of spending more than 20 years of my career in special operations,” he said, adding that he knew the value of reliable partners. “I’ve learned problems are best addressed by seeking insights and advice from a wide pool of talent — not just those in uniform, but those throughout our government and our international partners.” – APP

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