ISLAMABAD, Jul 27 (APP): US Senator John McCain has stated that for too long, the United States has viewed the bilateral relationship (with Pakistan) only through the prism of Afghanistan.
“To achieve real progress, the US must make clear its enduring commitment to Pakistan’s stability and economic growth,” he expressed these views in his article published in the Financial Times.
John McCain referred to the recent strain in the US-Pakistan
relationship and said among other things, limitations on US
assistance to Pakistan and congressional reluctance to approve subsidies for the sale of defence articles have added to tensions between the two governments.
“Despite this and other recent difficulties, US and Pakistani
leaders cannot allow ambivalence and suspicion to fester. Common interests in counterterrorism, nuclear security and regional stability are too important and too urgent,” he stressed.
Senator John McCain, who visited Afghanistan and Pakistan in early July this year, said in 2014, Pakistan launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, a tribal area along the Afghan-Pakistani border where militants had operated with impunity for decades.
“During my visit to Miram Shah in North Waziristan, I saw the city’s bazaar that once housed bomb-making factories, arms dealers and office fronts for terrorist groups. Thanks to the actions of Pakistani soldiers, this death market is no more.”
“Now the military is building roads, border posts, schools and
healthcare facilities across North Waziristan, a recognition that the failure to focus on economic development in the tribal areas in previous decades was a profound mistake,” he added.
Senator McCain, however, was of the view that “this operation did not eliminate every haven nor did it catch every terrorist. And it will require years of follow-up to secure the gains it has achieved. But it has led to security improvements in the country….
It shut down bomb-making factories and tunnel networks…”
Senator John McCain said two things were clear from his visit:
“First, the US mission in Afghanistan is the same today as it was in 2001: to disrupt and defeat terrorist networks that seek to attack its interests and homeland and to deny them safe haven. That mission remains urgent, and it is unfortunately not over yet.”
“Second, the US mission in Afghanistan is immeasurably more difficult without Pakistan’s co-operation in taking on terrorists that operate across the Afghan-Pakistani border at will. That is why enhanced co-operation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is essential,” he added.
“Likewise, the strategic imperative for improved relations
between the US and Pakistan is clear – for the safety of American troops and the success of their mission in Afghanistan, for the stability of the region and for the national security of both Pakistan and the US,” Senator McCain emphasized.
He said, “By taking on all terrorist groups operating in its
territory, Pakistan will find that the US remains willing and able to assist in this fight and develop an enduring strategic
“The sooner the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan get down to the business of fighting their common terrorist enemies together, no matter where they hide, the better off the nations, the region and the world will be,” the US Senator remarked.