Pakistan has allowed the US military to have overflight and access to be able to support its presence in Afghanistan, a top Pentagon official has said.
Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs David F Helvey told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday that the US will continue its conversation with Pakistan due to the important role it has played to support the peace process in the neighbouring war-torn country.
“Pakistan has played an important role in Afghanistan and they have supported the Afghan peace process,” he said.
“We will continue our conversations with Pakistan because their support and their contribution to the future of Afghanistan, the future of peace in Afghanistan is going to be critical,” the Pentagon official said.
US troops are set to withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11.
“It should not mean an end to our counterterrorism effort. We must ensure that Afghanistan will not be a source of planning, plotting or projecting of terrorist attacks around the globe, including particularly against our homeland. Despite great progress over the last 20 years, the threats from al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups still remain,” said Senator Jack Reed, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senator James M Inhofe said that precipitous drawdown from Afghanistan carries risk of severe chaos and violence, and instability in Afghanistan.
“As we saw after President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, terrorists will exploit this instability. Two and a half years after the US troops left Iraq, ISIS captured Mosul.
“Secondly, the complete withdrawal of US troops will make it much harder and more expensive to effectively support our Afghan security partners. Over-the-horizon counterterrorism does not work,” he said.