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US general explains key American interests in Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The United States still has three key interests in Pakistan, averting Al Qaeda’s re-emergence, preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promoting regional stability, says the next chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.Marine Corps Gen Joseph F. Dunford Jr, who currently heads the US Marine Corps, told his confirmation hearing that Pakistan’s cooperation was also important for ensuring a “peaceful outcome in Afghanistan.”

During the three-hour long hearing at the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday afternoon, the lawmakers showed a keen interest in the future of US-Pakistan relations.

If confirmed by the Senate, Gen Dunford would succeed Army Gen Martin E. Dempsey on Oct 1.

He said that the US-led coalition and the Afghan government were closely watching the ISIS’s attempt to expand its reach to Afghanistan and Pakistan and were collaborating closely to prevent this threat from expanding.

Key issues discussed in the hearing:

Pakistan’s role in the reconciliation process:

Gen Dunford: Regional partners have an important role to play in ensuring a stable, democratic Afghanistan. “We have encouraged stronger ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan and have been pleased with their recent bilateral efforts to address their security concerns.”

Areas of divergent interest with Pakistan include “our views on the use of proxies and the importance of a positive and stable Pakistan-India relationship”.

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