Give Gen Bajwa time for counterterrorism efforts, says US


WASHINGTON :The US State Department on Thursday congratulated Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on his recent appointment as Chief of Army Staff.

Answering a question about whether Pakistan's strategy will change under Gen Bajwa's leadership in response to allegations of militants getting training in Pakistan, the State Department said the army chief should be given time to implement counterterrorism efforts.

"We was just appointed at the end of November, so let’s give this gentleman a chance to get up to speed," State Department’s deputy spokesman Mark Toner said during a daily press briefing.

"We certainly congratulate him on the appointment and welcome… the transition to a new chief of army staff."

He said the US works "quite closely" with Pakistan for cooperation in counterterrorism operations..

In response to a question the spokesman said Pakistan is aware of some of the concerns which US has regarding its counterterrorism operations, "which include a safe haven for some terrorist groups that are active in the region".

"But again… Pakistan’s also paid the price of terrorism," he added.

"It’s in their interests, obviously, to crack down on any terrorist group that may be finding safe haven within its borders."

Toner also addressed allegations raised by a journalist that Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the Somalian student who wounded 11 people in a car-ramming and knife attack on an Ohio university campus earlier this week, had received training in Pakistan.

Toner said the recent Ohio attack is "still an ongoing investigation" and refused to "address some of the assumptions in [the journalist's] question with regard to the motivation behind these actions or where these people may have received any sort of training".

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