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‘Pakistan Army chief needs to be persistent in fight against terror’

PTI | Washington |

A top US military general has said the new Pakistan Army chief has shown signs he is taking action against the Taliban and the Haqqani network but he needs to be "more persistent" in the fight against terror.

Gen Joseph Votel, Commander of the US Central Command or CENTCOM, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has begun action against the terrorist groups his predecessors were reluctant to target.

Gen Votel said Pakistan Army recently supported Gen John Nicholson, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, in some places on the border, making sure they were doing the activities on their side of the border.

He called the actions "a move in the right direction."

"But what we need is that (they) be more persistent and continue to focus in that particular area," Gen Votel said.

"I think it is key to ensure that Pakistan and Afghanistan have a very good relationship. There are certainly tensions along border along the common border between those countries and so I think a key role that we can play is in helping move that relationship forward," Votel said in his response on a question from Senator Tom Cotton.

Cotton had said that for years the US has been "lamenting the existence of sanctuaries" for the Taliban and other terrorist group in Pakistan. "As you think about the strategy to break this stalemate, what's the role of eliminating those sanctuaries inside Pakistan? And how do you plan to get after this long standing problem?"

Gen Votel said Pakistan remains a "key partner" of the US in the firght against terrorism in the Af-Pak region. "They have done some things that have been helpful to us."