WASHINGTON: There has been ‘no visible blow back’ from Pakistan after a US drone strike killed Taliban chief Mullah Mansour last month, a top Pentagon official based in Afghanistan has said but admitted “some tension” in ties.
Asked if there has been a “visible blow back” from Pakistan after Mansour’s killing, Army Brigadier General Charles H Cleveland, deputy chief of staff for communications, Resolute Support Mission, Afghanistan, said: “In this case, we haven’t yet.
“And we certainly hope not,” Cleveland told Pentagon reporters during a video conference from Kabul.
“That is part of the effort that General (John) Nicholson (Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan) takes in terms of engaging his counterparts. But at this point, we have not really seen any military-to-military issues,” he said.
Cleveland was responding to questions on the sharp reaction from Pakistan after a US drone strike killed Mansour in Balochistan on May 21.
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif has described US drone strikes in Pakistani territory as “regrettable”. Senior Pakistani leadership has said that the US air strike “violated its sovereignty”.
At the same time, Cleveland said there is “some tension”.
“Clearly, there is still some tension and there is some back-and-forth. What we’re trying to focus, though, is sustaining and maintaining the military-to-military relationship that we’ve already got established. And that really starts with General Nicholson and goes down a couple of different levels,” he said.
“So by and large, what we’re trying to focus on is ensuring that we maintain a good, positive, healthy military-to-military relationship with the Pakistani military,” Cleveland said.–PTI