Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

US tells Pak to crack down on ter­ror groups

- Im­tiaz Ah­mad let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

IS­LAM­ABAD : The US on Tues­day re­it­er­ated its de­mand for Pak­istan to act against the Haqqani Net­work and other ter­ror groups op­er­at­ing from its soil, say­ing it wants to forge a “new re­la­tion­ship” with the coun­try based on mu­tual in­ter­ests.

Vis­it­ing US act­ing as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state Alice Wells raised the is­sue of crack­ing down on ter­ror­ists with for­eign sec­re­tary Tehmina Jan­jua and other Pak­istani in­ter­locu­tors, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the US em­bassy.

“Am­bas­sador Wells urged the gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan to ad­dress the con­tin­u­ing pres­ence of the Haqqani Net­work and other ter­ror­ist groups within its territory”, the state­ment said.

Wells is the first top Amer­i­can of­fi­cial to travel to Is­lam­abad since the US sus­pended se­cu­ri­tyre­lated aid worth nearly $2 bil­lion over Pak­istan’s counter-ter­ror­ism ef­forts. The devel­op­ment took bi­lat­eral ties to a fresh low amid grow­ing mis­trust over the sup­port of ter­ror groups by Pak­istan’s pow­er­ful mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment.

Dur­ing her meet­ings with Pak­istani of­fi­cials, Wells “un­der­lined that the US seeks to move to­ward a new re­la­tion­ship with Pak­istan, based on our mu­tual in­ter­est in re­al­is­ing a stable and pros­per­ous re­gion”, the state­ment said.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing Pak­istan’s sac­ri­fices fight­ing ter­ror­ism, Wells “em­pha­sised that the US South Asia strat­egy rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity to work to­gether for the es­tab­lish­ment of a stable, peace­ful Afghanista­n, the de­feat of (Is­lamic State) in South Asia, and the elim­i­na­tion of ter­ror­ist groups that threaten both Pak­istan and the US”.

Dur­ing her meet­ing with Wells on Mon­day, Jan­jua had protested against what she de­scribed as the In­dian Army chief’s “ir­re­spon­si­ble” re­marks and the “pat­tern of es­ca­la­tion” on the LoC, and called on Wash­ing­ton to ad­vise New Delhi to ex­er­cise re­straint.

“She (Jan­jua) asked the US side to ad­vise re­straint to In­dia and stop its es­ca­la­tion tac­tics,” said a state­ment is­sued by Pak­istan’s For­eign Of­fice af­ter the meet­ing.

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