Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pakistan-US Agreement on Counterterrorism Cooperation

The fourth session of the Pakistan-US Working Group on Counterterrorism was held in Islamabad on 5 July. The Pakistani delegation was led by Interior Minister Rehman Malik while William Brownfield, US assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement and narcotics affairs, led the US delegation. At the session, Pakistan and the United States agreed on the need for joint efforts to continue strategic talks, to resolve visa problems, and to curb drug trafficking. Moreover, complying with the US demand, Pakistan banned the export of nitrate, which is used in preparing landmines, to Afghanistan. However, the United States assured to enhance Pakistani security agencies' capability.
Addressing the joint news conference at the conclusion of the talks, Interior Minister Rehman Malik welcomed the resumption of talks between Pakistan and the United States. On this occasion, William Brownfield assured to support Pakistani Government's efforts against terrorism. The meeting decided to form a joint task force to eliminate the explosive devices.
Curbing Narcotics Trafficking
The agreement between Pakistan and the United States on strategy and steps against terrorism indicates that, despite the differences on several issues, some dialogue between the two countries is going on, which is a welcome development in the sense that it will not only help resolve these issues but will also help improve relations between the two countries. Narcotics trafficking is a major issue of this region as well as of the rest of the world. The Pakistan-US agreement on curbing narcotics trafficking is an encouraging development. The need of the hour is that the rest of the world too played its due role in this regard so that the longstanding dream of forming a drugs free global society could be materialized.
The ban on export of nitrate, which is used in preparing landmines, to Afghanistan, is a welcome step. The use of landmines in wars dates back to a long time ago. The use of the landmines in the prevailing situation in Afghanistan can bear devastating results. However, the United States should gain an assurance from the Karzai government that the terrorists would not be able to obtain the chemical, used in preparing landmines, from somewhere else.
Common Interest
During his unannounced visit of Afghanistan, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Pakistan's and Afghanistan's working jointly is in the interest of both the countries. However, President Hamid Karzai is unable to understand that. In his meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, he expressed grave concern over the alleged shelling in Afghanistan from the Pakistani areas. It is pertinent to mention here that, a few days ago, several hundred Afghan terrorists invaded Pakistani area and reaction was shown from this side of the border.
Speaking in this connection, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that the intervention and supply of weapons in Pakistan from Afghanistan needs to be stopped. He added that our borders have been violated five times from the Afghanistan side.
Eliminating Terrorism
David Petraeus, commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said that the foreign forces will focus attention on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the coming months. It is imperative that the NATO forces not only stopped violations of the Durand Line but also enforced measures to prevent the terrorists from infiltrating into Pakistan from Afghanistan.
The United States can give a new dimension to the cooperation against terrorism by showing progress on these matters. That will also pave way for normalizing the relations between Pakistan and the United States once again.

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