by Lt Col Zaheerul Hassan (R)
Pakistan has convincingly taken up the issue of cross-border attacks from Afghanistan with US special envoy Marc Grossman, and sought his help in persuading the Afghan government and ISAF to quell insurgents’ infiltrations into Pakistan side, diplomatic sources said on Sunday.
“The civil and military leadership made clear to the US that militants, who had fled the country during the Swat military operation and were operating from Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces, should be extradited to Pakistan,” the sources confided to The Nation.
The authorities impressed upon Grossman to take the matter seriously, as cross-border attacks, led by former TTP Swat commander Maulvi Fazalullah and his fighters, were destabilising Pakistan.
The US diplomat praised Pakistan’s role in stabilising the political process in Afghanistan, saying that Pak-US cooperation should continue on the matters of anti-terrorism. “We have many shared interests – including terrorism, supporting a stable and secure Afghanistan, increasing market access and economic opportunity, and supporting civilian democracy, tolerance, pluralism, and civil society,” Grossman was quoted as having said in a statement issued by the US Embassy at the conclusion of his two-day visit to Pakistan on Sunday.
Grossman appreciated Pakistan’s support for an Afghan political process through the US-Afghanistan-Pakistan Core Group, and noted that “we want to continue our important coordination on the border and to counter terrorism in the region. We want to work together to find ways to cooperate to make Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the region secure, stable, and prosperous”. “The frank, honest, and respectful conversations we had are essential to furthering the vital relationship between the United States and Pakistan and to ensuring our shared security and economic prosperity,” he added.
The US top diplomat headed into talks with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad on how the United States and Pakistan could work together to identify shared interests and act on them jointly. Grossman’s visit follows recent engagements, including Secretary Clinton’s meetings with Foreign Minister Khar in Washington and President Zardari in New York in September, as well as the recent Pakistan-US Law Enforcement and Counter terrorism agreement.[zameer36]