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US reiterates ‘militant havens’ need to be flushed out from Pak soil

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Washington: In the wake of the deadly ongoing attack at the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot, Punjab, the United States has reiterated their demand that Islamabad must target all militant groups and work more effectively in the closing down of ‘safe havens’ for terrorists on Pakistan soil.

Speaking at a press briefing, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said that the US Government had been clear with Pakistan regarding their intentions against terrorism.

“I would note that the Government of Pakistan also publicly and privately condemned this recent attack on the Indian airbase. And we’ve been clear with the highest levels of the Government of Pakistan that it must continue to target all militant groups, and the Government of Pakistan has said publicly and privately that it’s not going to discriminate among terrorist groups as part of its counterterrorism operations,” Kirby said.

Condemning the deadly assault on the airbase, he added that the US remained committed to a strong partnership with the Indian Government to combat terrorism and urged all the countries in the region ‘to work together to disrupt and dismantle terrorist networks and to bring justice to the perpetrators’ of the Pathankot attack.

Kirby expressed confidence that Pakistan would live up to the challenge and would provide their complete support to the Indian government in the investigations.

When asked that why US was not taking any action against Pakistan regarding the active militant ‘training centres’ on their soil, the spokesman assured that America was continuously engaging with Islamabad on the issue and were confident the Pakistan would step up.

“We’re mindful that there remain some safe havens that we obviously want to see cleared out. And we continue to engage with the Government of Pakistan to that end. And again, I would point you back to what the Government of Pakistan itself has said and acknowledged, that it’s not going to discriminate among terrorist groups and it will continue to take the fight,” Kirby said.

Talking about Islamabad targeting terrorist networks like Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad who are actively working against India, Kirby said that US expected Pakistan to continuing fighting against the extremist groups.

“We want to see the Government of Pakistan continue to press the fight against terrorists, all terrorists, and to – as I said, to meet their own expectations that they’re not going to discriminate among groups,” he said.

Asserting on the importance of normalising ties between the hostile neighbours, the spokesman said that the US government ‘strongly encouraged’ India and Pakistan to remain steadfast in their commitment to a more secure and prosperous future for both their countries.

“We’re encouraged by the Government of Pakistan condemning this attack, and again, the statements that they’ve made about not discriminating among groups. But this is – as we’ve said before, this is an issue that – as are so many issues between India, Pakistan and we want to see them work out bilaterally,” Kirby said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the government was working on leads provided by India relating to an assault by militants on an Indian air force base near the countries’ shared border, and that it hoped the planned talks with New Delhi could move forward. (ANI)

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