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Pakistan's New Army Chief Takes Charge Of Military

Pakistani General Asim Munir (file photo)
Pakistani General Asim Munir (file photo)

Pakistan’s new military chief, General Asim Munir, took command of the country's armed forces on November 29 from General Javed Bajwa at a ceremony held in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

One of the key challenges faced by Munir, who is a former head of the military's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), will be how to respond to the latest threat from the banned Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The TTP on November 28 called off a cease-fire agreed in May during talks with Islamabad and military officials in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, and ordered its fighters to launch attacks across the country.

The TTP are a separate group but are allies of the Afghan Taliban, who returned to power more than a year ago as the United States and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the war-torn country.

The army wields huge influence in Pakistan, governing the country for half of its 75-year history, and many see the military chief as the de facto ruler.

The change in military command comes days after Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif named Munir to replace Bajwa.

Opposition leader Imran Khan, whose government was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April, accused Sharif and Bajwa of being behind the ouster under a U.S. plot, a charge the prime minister, the United States, and the military have denied.

Khan, who was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt earlier this month, has reversed his position on his demand for snap elections and vowed that his party would be victorious in a vote scheduled for next year.

Munir's stance on the lingering political feud was unclear.

With reporting by and AP

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