ISLAMABAD (AP) – US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday praised the Pakistani military’s operation against militants in the country’s northwest, saying the results are “significant”.
His comments came during a meeting in Islamabad with Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs.
Pakistan launched a major operation in the North Waziristan region in June. The US had long advocated for such an operation because the region had become a hub for militant groups who attack targets in both Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan and a source of tension between the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The current operations “in the northwest have disrupted militant activities in the tribal areas and resulted in important seizures of weapons”, Kerry said. “The operation is not yet complete but already the results are significant. Pakistani soldiers and their commanders deserve enormous credit.”
Kerry also announced that $250 million in previously appropriated money will be given to emergency relief efforts in the tribal areas, mainly North Waziristan. Hundreds of thousands of people fled the area due to the fighting.
Kerry also praised the reopening Monday of the school in Peshawar where Taleban gunmen on Dec 16 slaughtered students and teachers in one of the country’s worst terrorist attacks. Kerry called it a testament to the resolve of the Pakistani people.
The secretary arrived in Pakistan on Monday and met with Aziz as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He met later Tuesday with Pakistan’s army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, at military headquarters in Rawalpindi, and is expected to fly to Geneva for a meeting Wednesday with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif to discuss nuclear negotiations that are to resume on Thursday in the Swiss city.