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Pakistan continues to use Taliban as hedge against India: US commander

IANS  |  Washington 

continues to use the as a hedge against rather than utilizing it as part of a stable, reconciled Afghanistan, a top American has said days after US sought assistance from in the Afghan peace process.

The remarks were made by US Marine Corps at the during his confirmation hearing for of the (CENTCOM).

"is an essential element in long term stability in It could play a key role in facilitating talks between the and government of At this time, however, does not appear to be using the full extent of its influence to encourage the to come to the table," McKenzie Jr told the members of the committee.

"We continue to see the Taliban being utilized as a hedge against rather than as part of a stable, reconciled "

McKenzie said Islamabad's policy towards its neighbour Afghanistan and its stance against the terror groups in the region seemed to be unchanged.

"Despite Pakistan's positive rhetoric in support of the South Strategy, violent extremist organizations (VEOs) operate along its border with Afghanistan. While Pakistan has conducted some operations against VEOs in Pakistan, they must continue to expand these operations and remain aggressively engaged," he said.

According to the top official, Pakistan's action or inaction as it related to stability in Afghanistan "often led to frustration between our governments and militaries".

"Stability in the South region remains the most important mutual strategic interest for both the US and Pakistan, and I think we must continue to engage with Pakistani leadership to realize how we can achieve this mutual interest."

McKenzie urged to take concrete steps that deny VEO safe havens in the country and prevent their movement from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

"Pakistan must leverage their influence over Taliban leadership to help compel them to come to the table for reconciliation negotiations.

He said the US CENTCOM will continue to support the as it works towards a to the conflict in Afghanistan which included ensuring that Islamabad's equities are acknowledged in any future agreement.

McKenzie added that the US CENTCOM will keep backing Trump's South Strategy and remained committed to holding Pakistan accountable for the commitments they had made to support US efforts in finding a negotiated settlement to the Afghanistan conflict.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 14:02 IST