‘Sanctuaries for militants still exist in Pak`
Last Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2011, 12:58
Washington: Pakistan continues to be a safe haven for terrorists and its influence in Afghanistan needs to be tackled, US military chief Gen Martin Dempsey has said, while acknowledging that his country's ties with Islamabad are in a state of mess.

"In Pakistan, the sanctuary for these militants persists. We have to work hard to end its influence on our Afghan mission," Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.

Stating that the US-Pak relationship is "strained", he added: "What we are trying to do is to have some patience, we are asking them to have some patience and then we would try to get back and touch base with each other and see if we can work through it, but yes it is a mess."

The US-Pak ties plunged to a new low after the November 26 NATO airstrike that killed 26 Pakistani soldiers. The incident led to Pakistan closing NATO supply routes and asking the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan, which is used by CIA-operated drones.

Separately, the State Department called the US-Pak ties "complicated" but also essential to both the countries.

"We are working very hard to keep open channels and to get back to work together," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters yesterday.

US officials have been in constant touch with counterparts in Pakistan, the latest being the meeting between Ambassador Cameron Munter and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

"We are continuing our intensive engagement, including through the recent meeting between Ambassador Munter and Foreign Minister Khar. Obviously we are both trying to roll up our sleeves and get back to work together," Nuland said.


First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011, 12:58

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