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Pakistani Army Chief's Term Extended By Three Years

Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa attends the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad in March.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has extended the term of current army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa by three years.

"General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed chief of army staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure," Khan's office said in a statement on August 19.

The decision, which had been widely expected, was made "in view of the regional security environment," it said.

Bajwa was appointed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016 and his tenure was due to end in November this year.

The extension of his term comes at a time of heightened tensions with India over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir and as the United States and the Taliban are reportedly nearing a deal to end the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Army has ruled the country for nearly half its 72-year history.

Opposition politicians have accused the military of manipulating last year's general elections to help bring Khan to power. Media-freedom watchdogs have also complained about the erosion of press freedoms in the country.

The military has denied interfering in politics or muzzling the media.