The nominee for the position of US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford has said at his Senate confirmation hearing that the relationship with Pakistan is fundamental to the US’ vital national security interests.
General Joseph Dunford said the US will need to continue cooperation with Pakistan to defeat al Qaeda, support Pakistan’s stability, and achieve a lasting peace in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan has cooperated with the US in its operations against al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.
Appreciating Pakistan Army’s role in the war against terrorism, Dunford, currently the commandant of the US Marine Corps, told senators that Pakistan provided assistance in the war against Al Qaeda and other militant groups.
The general said that Pakistan’s actions in North Waziristan and other areas of western Pakistan have disrupted groups that are a threat to US personnel and objectives in Afghanistan.
“We will continue to work with Pakistan to do more,” he said.
Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US and Pakistan have differences on several issues, but asserted that financial and military aid to Islamabad would continue.
“Areas of divergent interest with Pakistan include our views on the use of proxies and the importance of a positive and stable Pakistan-India relationship.”
Dunford said that key US strategic interests in Pakistan are preventing al Qaeda’s resurgence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to limit its ability to attack America.
He said that Pakistan is fundamental to US’ national security interests
“Pakistan and United States will both be benefitted by restoration of regional peace and eradication of extremism”, General Joseph Dunford said.
Gen Dunford said Russia now poses the greatest threat to US national security and its behavior is “nothing short of alarming”.
It would be “reasonable” to provide lethal weapons to Ukrainian forces battling pro-Russian rebels, he said. But he also said that the Pentagon nevertheless needed to maintain some kind of “effective” military-to-military relationship with Moscow.
He stressed that Russia is a nuclear power that is capable of violating the sovereignty of US allies and doing “things inconsistent with national interests”.
He also cited China, North Korea and the Islamic State (IS) group as threats to US national security.
Ties between former Cold War foes Washington and Moscow have plunged to new lows since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last year. Ukrainian forces are still locked in battle with pro-Russian rebels in the separatist east.
“From a military perspective, I think it’s reasonable we provide that support to the Ukrainians,” Dunford said.
Republican Senator John McCain, who chairs the panel, welcomed Dunford’s push for arms. “In Europe, Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues its onslaught in Ukraine,” said McCain
US General Says Ties With Pakistan Fundamental to US Interests