By Aarti Tikoo Singh
New Delhi/Islamabad, Jan 4 (IANS) In exchange for resumption of military to military cooperation, Pakistan has extended tacit support to the US over its air strikes that killed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Major Gen Qassem Soleimani and other top military officials in Baghdad.
Pakistan has remained conspicuous by its silence over the strikes and escalation of tensions between the US and Iran. Top intelligence sources said Pakistan, which blamed Soleimani for Baloch militant attacks against its forces, found an opportunity to “kill two birds with one stone” when the US sought its support after the operation.
According to a leaked letter of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 personnel of Pakistan Armed Forces were killed recently by Baloch militants based in Iran. It was one of the several attacks sponsored by Iranian intelligence chief Soleimani against Pakistan.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday took Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa into confidence after the air strike against the IRGC. In a tweet, Pompeo revealed that he had spoken to Bajwa about the US “defensive action to kill Qassem Soleimani”.
Soon after, the US authorised resumption of Pakistan’s participation in the much-coveted International Military Education and Training Programme (IMET).
US President Donald Trump allowed Pakistan to rejoin the programme, which was frozen two years ago due to Islamabad’s lack of action against terror groups. However, the overall security assistance suspension for Pakistan remains in effect, the US Secretary of State said.