Contrary to the latest Pakistani claim that the Haqqani network no longer exits inside its territory, the Pentagon on Monday said terrorist safe havens in that country undermined the stability of Afghanistan.
“We have expressed our deep concern to the government of Pakistan about terrorist sanctuaries inside its border that continues to undermine Afghanistan stability and US and coalition forces in Afghanistan,” the Pentagon spokesman said.
Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters at an off-camera news conference the US had urged Pakistan to redouble its commitment on counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan against all groups that posed a threat to long-term security of both nations.
Davis said the Haqqani network clearly posed a threat to US forces in Afghanistan and that was why the US continued to work with the government of Pakistan to ensure the threat was addressed. He hoped Islamabad would help ensure necessary progress against the Haqqanis.
The State Department and the White House also echoed the Pentagon’s view. “We have indicated on a number of occasions that there is more work we believe that the Pakistani government can do to confront extremist groups and others that pose a security threat to the interest of the Pakistani people as well as the national security interests of the United States,” the White House press secretary said.
Josh Earnest told reporters abroad Air Force One the issue was part of the discussion that Ambassador Susan Rice had held with the Pakistani officials. He was confident the matter would be on the agenda when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visits the US later this fall.
At a separate media briefing, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “We recognise that there’s still threat from these terrorist groups emanating from Pakistan. We want to see Pakistan take additional steps to address some of these threats…
“National Security Adviser (Susan) Rice was just there (in Islamabad) and she had very frank and productive conversations with her counterparts about the continuing threat and violence in the region and ways we can best counter act it,” Toner said. (PAN)