Washington: In a sharp attack on Pakistan, the US on Thursday asserted that the country needs to make a “historic shift” to stop providing safe havens to terrorists who destabilise Afghanistan, threaten American soldiers and target India.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said it is important that Pakistan does not continue to offer or provide a place for those who destabilise Afghanistan, those who threaten American service members in Afghanistan and other coalition service members or those who support terrorist groups, including those that target India.
“It is important that Pakistan recognises, as we’ve all said to them — I have said to their leaders for some time now that kind of terrorism poses a principal strategic danger to the Pakistani state,” Carter told reporters travelling with him to New Delhi from Japan.
“That’s an historic shift. It would require a historic shift in their focus. I hope they’re making that focus over time,” he said.
Striking a similar tone, the US State Department said it has voiced concern to the Pakistani leadership over the country’s tolerance of terror safe havens for Afghan Taliban groups like the dreaded Haqqani Network.
“We have consistently expressed our concerns to the highest levels of Government of Pakistan about their continued tolerance for Afghan Taliban groups such as the Haqqani Network operating from Pakistan soil,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters.
“We continue to encourage the Government of Pakistan and Afghanistan, rather — both governments to cooperate in their counter-terrorism operations and efforts because that’s only going to contribute to regional stability,” Toner said in response to a question.
Toner’s remarks came days after India and Afghanistan hit out at an isolated Pakistan at the Heart of Asia conference for sponsoring and supporting terrorism and called for “resolute action” against terrorists as well as their masters.
Short of naming Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his inaugural address at the Heart of Asia meet had said, “The growing arc of terrorist violence endangers our entire region. As such, support for voices of peace in Afghanistan alone is not enough.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had accused Pakistan of launching an “undeclared war” against his country by covertly supporting terror networks including the Taliban. PTI
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