Pakistan must target all terrorist groups eyeing its neighbours: US

Lahore: Reiterating its call on Pakistan to stop terrorism from spreading roots on its own soil, the United States has reiterated that Islamabad must target all terrorist groups, particularly those that have their eyes set on its neighbours.

However, the US acknowledged that Pakistan is taking steps to counter terrorist violence, particularly focused on groups that threaten Pakistani stability.

In a statement shared with Dawn, the US State Department noted that Pakistan was waging “a serious and sustained campaign” against violent extremism and had suffered greatly from terrorism.

It noted that the Pakistani military had made progress in shutting down terrorist safe havens through Zarb-i-Azb and other operations, and had restored government control to parts of Pakistan that had been used as terrorist sanctuaries for years.

“These are important and meaningful steps for Pakistan; they have contributed to our interests in the region; and they have come at significant cost, in lives lost by both Pakistani civilians and security personnel,” the State Department said.

While appreciating Pakistan’s efforts, the US also pointed out that it has been “very clear with the highest levels of the government of Pakistan that Pakistan must target all militant groups — including those that target Pakistan’s neighbours — and close all safe havens”.

“Pakistan’s leaders have assured us of their intention to do so. In this regard, we welcome Gen Raheel Sharif’s statement of July 6, in which he directed Pakistani military commanders,
intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to take concrete measures to deny any militant group safe haven or the use of Pakistani soil to launch terrorist attacks in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

The statement acknowledged that the broad, multi-faceted partnership between the two countries allowed the US to advance shared interests with Pakistan, including in the region.

“Where we have disagreements or conflicting views, we address those directly with Pakistani authorities.

The US further asserted that they have made no secret of their concern that the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network continue to operate from Pakistani territory.