No joint operation in NWA: Gen. Kayani
18 August, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvaiz Kayani on Friday ruled out any joint Pakistan-US operation against militants in North Waziristan, saying such an operation would be unacceptable to the people and armed forces of Pakistan.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had said on Monday that Pakistan had decided to launch a military operation against Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan but the campaign was not against the Haqqani network.
According to an ISPR statement issued after a meeting between General Kayani and US CENTCOM Commander General James N Mattis, the army chief categorically dispelled the speculative reporting in the US media regarding an understanding given to ISAF Commander General John Allen about Pakistan Army's readiness to launch joint operations in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
The COAS clarified Pakistan's position by referring to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement of July 3, in which she had talked of "coordinated actions against terrorists who threaten Pakistan and the region".
"It is important to distinguish between 'coordinated action' and 'joint operation'. 'Coordinated action' implies that Pakistan Army and ISAF conduct operations on respective sides of Pak-Afghan border. For such actions, intelligence sharing is the mainstay of mutual cooperation. Contrarily, a 'joint operation' implies that the two forces are physically employed jointly on either side of the border. A 'joint operation' in this sense is unacceptable to the people and armed forces of Pakistan, hence, has always been our clearly stated red line," the statement read.
The army chief clearly reiterated Pakistan's perspective, saying, "We might, if necessary, undertake operations in NWA, in the timeframe of our choosing and determined only by our political and military requirements. It will never be a result of any outside pressure. Pakistan's national interest continues to be the prime consideration for any decision in this regard."
However, the Pakistani and US military leadership agreed on stopping militant activities in the border areas and containing terrorism.
Both sides expressed satisfaction over the level of cooperation between the two militaries and resolved to continue it to further improve relations between the two countries.
The sources said that Pakistani officials also discussed the militants' intrusion from Afghanistan's side into the border areas.
The two sides also agreed on a strategy to carry out coordinated action against terrorism to control raids on both sides of the border. They also discussed professional matters in detail.