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Pakistani Army Chief Says Nation Felt 'Betrayed' by US

13 January 2018

US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel told General Qamar Javed Bajwa during a telephone call this week that the United States was not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan, the Pakistani army said on Friday in a statement.

In a statement, spokesman Maj.

Spokesman Colonel John Thomas said Centcom is in "continuous communication" with the Pakistan military, including recurring conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

Ghafoor did not state exactly when the conversation took place, saying the call was made to Bajwa earlier this week.

The comment comes after President Donald Trump's administration withheld nearly $2 billion in security aid from Pakistan for allegedly failing to take "decisive action" against Taliban militants targeting U.S. personnel in neighboring Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.

The move, first announced by Trump in a New Year's Day tweet, sparked indignation in Pakistan, which has long denied the US accusations of militant support, and accused Washington of dismissing the sacrifices it has made in the war on extremism. But it said the USA military was in "continuous communication" with Pakistan's military, to include recurring conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

The two generals did however find common ground and spoke of the need for continued cooperation in the ongoing war on terror.

"(Bajwa) said that entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over United States recent statements despite decades of cooperation", the army said, referring to the phone call between Bajwa and Votel.

It said Bajwa, however, assured Votel that Pakistan would continue its counter-terrorism efforts even without USA financial support in accordance with the Islamic nation's security interests.

Gen. Votel conveyed Bajwa three concrete messages: The problems in relations were temporary; there would be no unilateral action against Pakistan and the U.S. did not want a disruption in ties.

"[The army chief] reiterated that Pakistan will not seek resumption of [U.S.] aid but expects honorable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in the fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region".

Such a move, however, is likely to provoke Islamabad to block air and ground routes that US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops depend on to conduct counterterrorism operations and transport vital military supplies to landlocked Afghanistan.

Pakistan later responded to Trump's allegations by convening a National Security Committee meeting, attended by Bajwa and Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The committee at the time said that the USA was scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan after 16 years of war.

Islamabad denies USA allegations of harboring insurgent bases and cites its "unprecedented" gains against terrorist groups on Pakistan soil, resulting in improved national security.

Pakistani Army Chief Says Nation Felt 'Betrayed' by US