ISLAMABAD, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif Friday urged the visiting American military officials and diplomats to target the Pakistani Taliban leaders who now operate from the Afghan side of the border, the military said.
General John Nicholson, Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and Ambassador Richard Olson, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan met General Raheel Sharif, amid tension between the two countries over a recent U.S. drone strike in Balochistan.
The U.S. officials arrived in Islamabad after a series of harsh statements by the Pakistani leaders over the May 21 drone attack that killed the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour at a time when efforts were underway to start peace negotiations in Afghanistan.
"Expressing his serious concern on the U.S. drone strike in Balochistan as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, the COAS (Chief of the Army Staff) highlighted as to how it had impacted the mutual trust and respect," an army statement said after the meeting.
The army chief underlined that the U.S. action was counterproductive in consolidating the gains of Pakistan military operation in the tribal regions.
"All efforts for durable peace in the region have to be synergized with shared commitment and responsibility in order to make them successful," the statement quoted General Raheel as telling the American leaders.
He raised the demand of targeting the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its chief Mullah Fazlullah in their bases in Afghanistan and reiterated Pakistan's resolve not to allow hostile intelligence agencies' efforts, especially "RAW and NDS, of fomenting terrorism."
Pakistani security officials say that almost all TTP leaders and fighters have fled to Afghanistan after a series of military operations in the tribal regions.
The regional security situation, with particular reference to border management with Afghanistan and peace and stability in Afghanistan in the post-May 21 U.S. drone strike environment came under discussion, the military said.
The army chief told the U.S. officials that the operation in the tribal regions codenamed "Zarb-e-Azb" was launched against terrorists of all hues and sanctuaries of terrorists have been dismantled without discrimination.
"All stakeholders need to understand Pakistan's challenges with regard to porous border, inter-tribal linkages and decades-old presence of over 3 million refugees. Blaming Pakistan for instability in Afghanistan is unfortunate," General Raheel said.
He reaffirmed the need for continuing harmonized efforts against terrorists and effective border management as ways to regional peace and stability. He further said Pakistan is committed to work for a long term peace process for Afghanistan under the QCG framework.