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Pakistan rejected US State Dept assessment against Afghan Taliban

21 July, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan rejected on Thursday the US State Department’s annual assessment that it did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani network or limit their ability to threaten US interests in Afghanistan.

“We have taken indiscriminate and all-out action against terrorists,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told reporters during his weekly press briefing. In ‘Country Reports on Terrorism’, the US accused Pakistan of providing ‘safe haven’ to terrorists, saying the country had not taken any substantial action against the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban. The report said while terrorist-related violence declined in Pakistan for the second straight year in 2016, terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) continued to operate, train, organise and fundraise inside the country.

The report said Afghanistan experienced aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani network and other insurgent groups, claiming a number of such attacks had been planned and launched from ‘safe havens’ in Pakistan. Zakaria contested the claim, insisting that most of the militants fled to Afghanistan after Pakistan’s successful operation in the tribal areas. “As is evident from the statistics and media reports available, a considerable number of leaders and senior commanders of the Haqqani network and other terrorists have been killed inside Afghanistan,” he said, rebutting charges that the deadliest militant outfit was operating in Pakistan.

“Our efforts have been met with success, and acknowledged by a number of countries, including the US. Various delegations, who came to Pakistan from US and other countries, have visited the affected areas, which we successfully cleansed from terrorism,” the spokesperson maintained.

Regarding the proposed bill seeking tough restrictions on Pakistan, Zakaria said the bill was still under legislative process, therefore, it would be premature to comment on it. “However, Pakistan-US cooperation in diverse areas is longstanding. As far as our role in the context of peace in Afghanistan is concerned, Pakistan’s position is clear. Pakistan wants to see peace and stability in Afghanistan, which we firmly believe is in its interest.” The spokesperson strongly denounced the continued ceasefire violations by the Indian troops, saying India wanted to divert attention from the current uprising in Kashmir through such aggressive tactics.

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