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US troops in Afghanistan won’t ‘go across the border’ chasing Taliban: top official | World

US Army soldiers take positions during a joint US-Afghan military patrol in a village in Arghandab Valley, Kandahar, Afghanistan, October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro/Files

WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday stressed that its forces would not enter Pakistan in pursuit of the Taliban as their troops are aware of Islamabad’s “territorial sovereignty”.

In a press briefing, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, the spokesman for the US Department of Defence (DoD), said: “Say, for example, we have troops in contact and then the Taliban forces go across the border. They are clearly inside Pakistan then.

“We have no authority to go into Pakistan. There’s no change with regard to respecting the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan.”

Andrews underlined that the US Army troops respected borders, operated within Afghanistan only, and are aware that they do not have authority to cross over to Pakistan.

He, however, went on to say: “If the Taliban reside in Pakistan and we are able to provide safety and support and to help secure districts and provinces within Afghanistan, I think that is a trade-off that we’re willing to make.”

“Because it’s not necessarily about these people over in Pakistan, it is about the Afghan people. […] What happens in Pakistan, we can’t have any control on that.

“That’s something within Pakistan, that’s something the nation of Pakistan has got to resolve. Now we’re going to stay focused on Afghanistan.”

The DoD spokesperson said the US Army troops this year aim to work on regaining Afghan areas that are under the Taliban’s control.

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