Washington: Several US lawmakers on Thursday questioned the sincerity of Pakistan in taking action against terrorist groups existing on its soil, with one of them alleging that the country is simply doing lip service.
"Pakistan gives lip service to doing something about it (taking action against terrorists). I am not convinced that Pakistan is engaged in helping defeat the Taliban," Republican
Congressman Ted Poe said at a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan convened by the House Committee on International Affairs.
America`s top diplomat and commander of its forces in Afghanistan testified before the committee.
"Having been on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and talking to just regular troops, just my opinion is that the Pakistan government isn`t doing enough to ratchet up protecting their side of the border," Poe said.
General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the long-term way ahead is with a strategic partnership with Pakistan.
"They are absolutely focused against the TTP or Pakistani Taliban, internal to Pakistan. They have not focused on the Afghan Taliban that use sanctuaries," he said.
"So they take care of business with the Taliban that is the home-grown folks that just stick around in Pakistan to do mischief, but people running back and forth across the border into Afghanistan, they don`t consider that their problem," Congressman Poe asked.
"I wish that they would do more against the Afghan Taliban," McChrystal responded.
Congressman Michael McCaul alleged that Pakistan is playing a dual game with the US.
"The history of the Pakistani ISI (intelligence) has not been a good one. They tend to side with the extremists, at the same time help us with high-value targets," McCaul said.
"Pakistan`s always been, in my view, the epicentre of this war on terror. It`s where al-Qaeda has sought safe haven -- Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Centre bomber; his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," he said.
In his opening remarks, Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the Committee, said nearly all of the jihadi groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, LeT and others, have joined together in an extended terrorist network that shares the same goals, including destabilising Afghanistan and destroying the Pakistani state.
"Pakistan is where the crux of the problem is; but yet, it is the least emphasis where we`ve seen our strategy. That`s where al Qaeda is. That`s where the real apex of this situation is. Will our troops be able to go into Pakistan and do exactly what the mission says: destroy, dismantle, and see that it doesn`t return to Pakistan?" Democrat Congressman David Scott said.