US, Pakistan nearing settlement on use of airspace for Afghanistan operations: report

Pakistan and the US are in talks and nearing settlement on the usage of Pakistani airspace for navy and intelligence operations in Afghanistan, says a report by CNN. 

The report, citing three sources conversant in the small print of a categorized briefing held by US President Joe Biden with members of Congress, mentioned Pakistan had expressed the will to signal an MoU with the US authorities over the matter.

Islamabad, in alternate, desires help with its personal counterterrorism efforts and assist in managing the connection with India, mentioned a supply.

However, nothing is closing but as talks between the 2 nations are nonetheless occurring and the phrases of the settlement can change, the report quoted a supply as saying.

The US, for the primary time in 20 years, doesn’t have a navy presence in Afghanistan as its troops pulled in another country on August 31.

After 20 years of battle in Afghanistan, the US withdrawal from the nation was criticised by a number of nations as a hasty one.

“The US military currently uses Pakistan’s airspace to reach Afghanistan as part of ongoing intelligence-gathering efforts, but there is no formal agreement in place to ensure continued access to a critical piece of airspace necessary for the US to reach Afghanistan,” reads part of the CNN report.

The report mentioned that the Pakistani airspace will turn into much more crucial for the US if and when it decides to fly out Americans from Afghanistan in future.

A 3rd supply instructed CNN that the airspace deal was mentioned between the 2 when US officers just lately visited Pakistan. However, the supply mentioned, “it’s not yet clear what Pakistan wants or how much the US would be willing to give in return.”

A Pentagon spokesperson, when contacted by CNN, refused to touch upon closed briefings.

Uzbekistan, Tajikistan ‘lengthy shot’ choices for US navy bases

The sources confirmed that central Asian states Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are rising because the “top options” for potential nations the place the US navy can conduct over-the-horizon operations in Afghanistan.

However, problems might end result within the type of sturdy opposition by Russian President Vladimir Putin and native politicians, with one supply referring to the choices as “likely pipe dreams due to needing Putin’s blessing.”

Currently, the US holds over-the-horizon operations from its bases in Middle East nations such because the UAE and Qatar. American drones fly from far-off bases into Afghanistan, travelling round Iran and thru the Pakistani airspace.

“The lengthy flight limits the time drones can loiter over Afghanistan gathering intelligence, and the Biden administration has been looking for closer, more effective options,” reads the report.

Biden on counterterrorism ‘over-the-horizon functionality’

US President Joe Biden had mentioned that Washington may have the power to conduct over-the-horizon operations in Afghanistan, although its troops wouldn’t be current within the nation.

“We are developing a counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on any direct threats to the United States in the region, and act quickly and decisively if needed,” he had mentioned on July 8, weeks earlier than the US pulled in another country.

However, American lawmakers have questioned these claims because the Defense Department has not mentioned the place these capabilities shall be headquartered within the area.

“They’re building the plane as they fly it,” one Senate aide instructed CNN of what Pentagon officers have shared about over-the-horizon plans.

PM Imran Khan says Pakistan will ‘completely not’ give bases to US navy

Back in June, Prime Minister Imran Khan was requested by the US media for his feedback on giving entry to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to navy bases.

“Will you allow the American government to have the CIA here in Pakistan to conduct cross border counter-terrorism missions against Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban?” American journalist Jonathan Swan had requested the premier.

“Absolutely not,” PM Imran Khan had responded.

“There’s no way we’re going to allow any bases or any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not,” he had mentioned.