'Talibanised' Afghanistan not in Pakistan's interest: Kayani
Rawalpindi, Feb.2 (ANI): Stressing that it is imperative for Pakistan to stabilise Afghanistan, Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has said Islamabad would never want a 'Talibanised' country as its neighbour.
Interacting with foreign journalists after his return from Brussels, where he attended a NATO commanders' conference, Kayani said peace and stability in Afghanistan were crucial to Islamabad's long-term interests.
"We can't wish for anything for Afghanistan that we don't wish for ourselves," he said.
Kayani clarified that Pakistan has no interest in establishing its control over Afghanistan, and added that a peaceful Afghanistan would provide the country a 'strategic depth' in the region.
"We want a strategic depth in Afghanistan but do not want to control it," Kayani told reporters at the Army General Headquarters here.
Kayani said he had told NATO commanders during the Brussels meet that Islamabad's 'strategic paradigm needs to be fully realised.'
He pointed out that fighting against terrorism was in Pakistan's own interests and that it would not deter in eliminating extremism from it's soil.
"Pakistan has suffered the maximum in terms of human and economic losses because of terrorism and violent extremism, but it has not dented the resolve of the nation and armed forces to fight and eliminate the terrorism in accordance with our national interests," Kayani said.
Referring to demands of the international community, especially the US, to take on the militants harder and announce an all out war against them in the troubled tribal regions along the Afghan border, Kayani said there are various constraints which must be looke into before demanding Islamabad to open new fronts against the extremists.
He said the Pakistan Army needed time, capability and technology to consolidate its gains and stabilise areas claimed back from the militants.
"We must consolidate our gains and fully stabilise the areas secured, lest they fall back to terrorists.
Constraints of capability to absorb and operate, limited cutting edge counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism capability and limited budgetary space should be factored in," Kayani said. (ANI)
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