U.S. senator praises Army’s efforts in tackling extremism following visit to North Waziristan.
U.S. Senator John McCain expressed support for Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against the Taliban after visiting a key tribal district recently retaken by the military, the Pakistani foreign ministry said Sunday.
A four-member, bipartisan U.S. Senate delegation led by the former presidential candidate went to North Waziristan, where in 2014, under U.S. pressure, the Army launched an operation to wipe out militant bases and end the near decade-long Islamist insurgency. In May, the Army announced it had successfully cleared the area of militants.
The foreign ministry statement said that the U.S. delegation had met with Foreign Affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz and held talks on Pakistan-U.S. ties as well as the situation in Afghanistan.
Aziz “appreciated Senator McCain for his positive comments regarding the importance of Pakistan-U.S. relations at a time when the region was facing complex challenges,” the statement said.
“Good delegation mtg w/ Chief of Army Staff of #Pakistan Gen Raheel Sharif & discussing regional security challenges,” McCain said on his verified Twitter account, also posting photos of the delegation’s visit to Waziristan.
The relationship between the two nations has been strained at times with some in Washington believing Pakistan has not done enough to bring its influence to bear and to persuade the Taliban to renounce violence. Pakistan was angered over a recent U.S. drone strike which killed the Taliban’s leader Mullah Akthar Mansour in May in Balochistan province.
The U.S. Congress also blocked the subsidized sale of eight F-16 jet fighters to Pakistan in May accusing of it of being lax in the fight against militants.