Won’t stop talking with one another: US Def Sec on relations with Pakistan

Won’t stop talking with one another: US Def Sec on relations with Pakistan

Srinagar: The United States (US) Defence Secretary James Mattis on Friday said that the Pentagon was maintaining its communication with the Pakistani military establishment, including with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, even after suspending its security assistance to Pakistan.

“I think, yesterday Gen Joseph Votel was on the phone with Gen Bajwa, the chief of the army staff. And we’ll continue to coordinate this,” he said at an afternoon news briefing at the Pentagon.

“Obviously, we’ll continue talking with one another, as we are at all times,” said the US defence chief, but he did not clarify if the conversation took place before or after Washington announced the aid suspension on Thursday, The DawnNews reported.

As commander of the US Central Command, Gen Votel is directly responsible for US war efforts in Afghanistan where Washington still maintains about 14,000 troops and other military assets.

Mattis said that the Trump administration considered all possibilities before suspending its military assistance to Pakistan and was not worried about Islamabad shutting off supplies to Afghanistan in retaliation.

“I’m not concerned, no,” he said when asked if the suspension could lead Pakistan to cut off supply lines, adding that he had not received any indication from Islamabad that it might block supply lines.

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