Pakistan needs to deny safe haven to terrorists: US

Washington, Aug 26 (IANS) Urging Pakistan yet again to deny safe haven to terrorists, the US has told it to not discriminate among terror groups operating from its territory.

US State Department’s Director of Press Office Elizabeth Trudeau on Thursday said: “We have consistently raised our concerns to the highest level of the Pakistani government on the need to deny safe haven to extremists.”

“We have pressed the Pakistani government to follow up on their expressed commitment, their stated commitment, to not discriminate among terror groups regardless of their agenda or affiliation,” she said in a daily press briefing.

Trudeau’s remarks come after an attack on the American University in Kabul, which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said was organised and orchestrated from Pakistan.

At least 12 people were killed in the attack that took place late on Wednesday in Kabul and continued for more than 10 hours.

Ghani had called Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif and demanded that action be taken against those behind the attack, but Pakistan on Thursday evening said it needed “more evidence” to take any action over the attack.

Also on Thursday, US Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs Peter Lavoy held a meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry regarding steps Islamabad has taken in the wake of Wednesday’s attack.

Talking to media after the meeting, Chaudhry said the US did not acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts against terrorist groups, including the Haqqani network.

He asserted that Pakistan was taking indiscriminate action against all the extremist outfits in its territory.

Trudeau also said the US has always encouraged the Pakistani and Afghan governments to work together “not only in the wake of this attack but to ensure that such attacks do not happen again”.

She insisted that the two neighbours needed to “increase their cooperation countering violent extremism writ large”.

According to her, Gen. Raheel Sharif has said that Pakistan “would not discriminate” against the terrorist groups on its soil but “this attack against the best and brightest of Afghanistan is a sign” that more efforts need to be taken to curb extremism.

With Pakistan not taking the desired action against extremists and its support to the Taliban militant group in the neighbouring country, the US has also cut both military and economic aid to Islamabad sharply in recent years.

American civilian and military aid to Pakistan, once the third-largest recipient of US foreign assistance, is expected to total less than $1 billion this year — down from a recent peak of more than $3.5 billion in 2011, according to a US report.



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