‘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.

PTI



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

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