New York, Dec 8 (IANS) Pakistan’s involvement with terrorism came under a double-barrel attack from two US departments, State and Defence, reflecting Washington’s continued frustration with Islamabad’s destablising role.
The US Defence Secretary said that Pakistan needs a “historic shift” to stop sheltering terrorists targeting India, Afghanistan and American military personnel.
“I have said to their leaders for some time now that kind of terrorism poses a principal strategic danger to the Pakistani state,” he told reporters travelling with him to India. “It would require a historic shift in their focus.”
Meanwhile in Washington, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner opened another front saying: “We have consistently expressed our concerns to the highest level-levels of the government of Pakistan – about their continued tolerance for Afghan Taliban groups such as the Haqqani Network operating from Pakistan soil.”
Toner was answering a reporter’s question at the department’s briefing about the stinging criticism of Pakistan’s terrorism policy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the recent Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar.
He said: “We continue to encourage the government of Pakistan to and Afghanistan, rather – both governments to cooperate in their counterterrorism operations and efforts because that’s only going to contribute to regional stability.”
Terrorism did come up in talks in Wasbhington between Under Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Tariq Fatema, the special adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Toner said they discussed regional stability and counterterrorism cooperation.
“I think that Pakistan’s interests, and as they reflect upon them, are best served by stability and not instability in Afghanistan,” Carter said in reply to a question about how Pakistan would figure in his talks with Indian officials during his visit to new Delhi on Thursday.
“It’s important that Pakistan not continue to offer or provide a place for those who destabilise Afghanistan, as well as those who threaten American service members in Afghanistan and other coalition service members; or who support terrorist groups, including those that target India,” he said.