Kayani wants US assurance over no Pak spillover of Helmand offensive

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Islamabad, Feb.13 (ANI): Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has asked for assurance from the United States that the planned massive offensive against the Taliban and other extremist groups in Helmand, Afghanistan would not have any effect on the country.

According to well-placed military sources, Kayani raised apprehensions over the planned offensive with top US officials, including National Security Advisor General James Jones and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, who met Kayani separately at the General Headquarter (GHQ).

During the meeting Kayani said that the US-led military actions should remain within Afghanistan's boundary, and also emphasised the need for intelligence sharing with Pakistani security forces, The Nation reports.

A statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the visiting top US officials only discussed matters pertaining professional interests, but sources privy to the meeting revealed that host of other issues were also discussed during the talks.

Kayani's apprehensions came just before thousands of American, Afghan and British troops launched an attack on the watery Taliban fortress of Marja.

The massive operation initiated today (Saturday) morning would witness foreign troops move by land and through air to destroy the Taliban's largest haven.

Just after midnight, aircraft bombed the southernmost portion of Marja, where officials believed foreign fighters were hiding.

The invasion of Marja is being touted as a crucial part of a larger campaign to secure a 200-mile arc that would bisect the major cities in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces, where the Taliban are the strongest.

That campaign, which is expected to last months, is designed to reverse the Taliban's momentum, which has accelerated over the past several years. (ANI)

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