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US pressing Pakistan for action against Haqqanis, Taliban

US pressing Pakistan for action against Haqqanis, Taliban

Dec 17, 2015 - 12:06

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States on Wednesday pressed for greater cooperation between Kabulinfo-icon and Islamabad, as lawmakers expressed concern over continuation of terrorist safe havens in the northwest frontier areas of Pakistaninfo-icon.  

“We continue to press for greater cooperation between Afghanistaninfo-icon and Pakistan, both to stabilise the common border region and to build the constructive relationship necessary for regional stability,” the US special representative said.

Richard Olsontold legislators during a Congressional hearing: “We will not be able to eradicate militant groups until both sides of the border are effectively secured.”

President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had shown impressive leadership, he acknowledged during the hearing on Pakistan convened by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

While cooperation between the neighbours on reconciliation was certainly an important first step, the US continued to press for increased coordination on security issues, Olson said.  

However, top American lawmakers appeared unsatisfied. Chairman of Foreign Affairs CommitteeEd Royce observed: “Pakistani governments have come and gone, but it's northwestern frontier has remained a terrorist haven, with its security services supporting what it considers to be good Islamist terrorist groups.”

Theso-called good groups destabilised Afghanistan and threaten neighbouring India, while the Pakistan government simultaneously opposed what it considered the bad Islamist groups, Royce commented.

The US had given Pakistan $30 billion since 9/11, Congressman Ted Poe said. “I think Pakistan is a Benedict Arnold ally to the United States. Even going back to May the 2nd, 2011, when there was the raid in Pakistanon Osama bin Laden, we didn't tell the Pakistanis we were coming, because, frankly, they would snitch us off and Osama bin Laden would have left,” he said.

Describing America’s relationship with Pakistan as a disgrace, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher alleged it was a government that gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden, the murderer of 3,000 Americans. He did not think anybody believed that the high-level people in the Pakistan government did not know about that.

Olson, however, argued Pakistan seemed to be committed to this fight against terrorism. “I think that their commitment is serious to fighting terrorism. At the same time, I think more needs to be done in terms of action against terrorists like Haqqani networks in Pakistan.

“While we do not always see eye to eye on every issue, our relationship with Pakistan is vital to the national security of the United States,” Olson said in defence of the US providing billions of dollars in aid to the South Asian country.

Pakistan, he argued, was becoming a more constructive actor in the region. Last July, Pakistan facilitated a direct meeting between the Afghan government and Talibaninfo-icon representatives in Murree.

“While we see progress in decreasing the presence of certain terrorists in Pakistan, we continue to press Pakistan to target all militant groups that have safe haven in Pakistan, particularly the Taliban, including the Haqqani networkinfo-icon and Lashkar-i-Taiba,” Olson said.


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