Pakistan may allow US to use its air, ground access, Pentagon claims

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has agreed to allow the US military to use its airspace and given ground access to support its presence in Afghanistan, foreign media reported quoting a Pentagon official.

David F. Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the US would continue its conversation with Pakistan because it had a critical role in restoring peace to Afghanistan.

The official was replying to a question from Senator who asked him to “outline your assessment of Pakistan, and particularly of Pakistani intelligence agencies, and the role you expect them to play in our future”.

“Pakistan has played an important role in Afghanistan. They supported the Afghan peace process. Pakistan also has allowed us to have overflight and access to be able to support our military presence in Afghanistan,” Helvey replied.

Last week, Pakistan categorically denied that it would provide military bases for US forces amid rampant speculation that it has agreed to a post-troop withdrawal from Afghanistan deal that will facilitate Washington’s regional counterterrorism operations.

Following policy statement to the US Senate by General Kenneth McKenzie Jr, commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM). The rumors deepened. He said that a fraction of US forces will remain stationed nearby Afghanistan after the troops’ fully withdraw from the country by September 11.