US asks Pak to act against terror groups targeting neighbours

Washington: In a strong message, the US has asked Pakistan to act against all the terror groups in the country, especially those targeting its neighbours and not just the ones that pose a threat to it.

“We have been very clear with the highest levels of the Government of Pakistan that they must target all militant groups and that includes those that target Pakistan’s neighbors. They must also close all safe havens,” Deputy Spokesman of the State Department Mark Toner said yesterday.

“They (Pakistan) have made progress. They’re going after groups, but selectively. We need to see them go after all groups and as I just said, even those groups that might not threaten Pakistan itself but threaten its neighbors,” he said. Responding to questions about Pentagon’s decision to withheld USD 300 million military aid to Pakistan, Toner said,”We’ve urged the Government of Pakistan to address this and to pursue closer counter terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan against all groups that pose a long-term security threat to the region, not just to Pakistan,” Toner said.

He added that Pakistan has taken considerable actionagainst terrorist networks. “I would answer it is we believe that Pakistan has taken and is taking steps to counter terrorist violence and certainly focusing on those groups that threaten Pakistani or Pakistan’s stability,” he said. “They have, the military has shut down some of these safehavens.

They’ve restored government control to parts of Pakistan that were used as terrorist safe havens for years. The spokesman said these are important steps that have continued or contributed to security interests in the region. “And they have come at a cost of Pakistani lives lost,”Toner said.