WASHINGTON: The United States does not believe that Afghanistan and Pakistan will go to war over cross-border attacks, says a senior US general.
Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, the deputy commander of US Forces in Afghanistan, told a recent news briefing in Washington that the United States maintained good relations with both the countries and was working with them to curb cross-border attacks.
During the briefing, a correspondent for a US military newspaper, Stars and Stripes, noted that tensions along the Pak-Afghan border had been rising, and the Afghan government had beefed up its forces to stop cross-border attacks. “What contingency plans the US have if fighting was to break between the two countries?” he asked.
“There are no specific contingency plans. I do not anticipate war breaking out between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said the general, in a video conference from Kabul.
“The first thing we’re trying to do is make sure we’re talking to each other and not shooting at each other,” he said. “We’ve come a long way in my time here in trying to find a new normal, so to speak, and then to create venues for dialogue.”
The general said the intent behind maintaining a regular contact with the Pakistani military was to increase coordination between the two sides and also to enhance the ability to talk to each other at the border coordination centres.
The centres were established in 2006 as a means for Afghans and Pakistanis to hold direct talks with the US-led coalition forces present along the border.
“We will continue to make military-to-military contact, continue to talk about it as we do very frequently,” he said. “And then that is going to provide a mechanism that potentially will be calming over time and reduce some of the tension that’s up on the border.”