Former US military chief says US ‘visibly distanced’ from Pakistan


Former US military chief Mike Mullen said Sunday that the United States had visibly ‘distanced’ itself from Pakistan.

The ex-US military chief said the White House and the State Department rejected claims of their linkage to Pakistan’s domestic politics.

“It is very difficult to say,” said Mullen when asked to detail Washington’s relations with Pakistan. It is pertinent to state that Islamabad was once a close Washington ally in the war against terror and during the cold war.

“I think we have distanced ourselves from Pakistan in the last decade. Pakistan has fallen under the umbrella of China,” Mullen told VOA.

Admiral Mullen was chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff till September 2011 from October 2007.

He was also named in the Memogate controversy that revolved around a memorandum seeking US support for preventing a military takeover in Pakistan. The takeover, however, never happened.

He noted that Beijing was not only Islamabad’s neighbour, but it had been supportive of the latter.

“This closeness suits China’s global ambition as Beijing would prefer to have a neighbour not close to the US and closer to them.”

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“For these understandable reasons, the US-Pakistan relationship is going to be tense for some time,” he added.

Asked if he thought Pakistan helped the Taliban take control over Kabul in August last year, Mullen said: “They didn’t do much to stop it anyway.”

He recalled that Pakistani intelligence agencies were at the helm of affairs in Afghanistan, “and I believe that the connectivity is still there. It sort of cuts both ways.”

On Thursday, the US State Department and the White House publicly addressed PM Imran Khan’s claim that foreign powers attempted to unseat him.

White House Communications Director rejected this claim as incorrect.

“There no truth in that allegation,” Kate Bedingfield said, responding to a question.

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