Tangible evidence of Pak`s commitment on checking terror: US

The US has said there is tangible evidence of Pakistan`s commitment to clamping down on extremists.

Last Updated: May 22, 2010, 17:38 PM IST

Washington: The US has said there is tangible evidence of Pakistan`s commitment to clamping down on extremists operating within its borders, citing the arrest of top Taliban commander Mullah Baradar and the cooperation it extended after the botched Times Square bombing plot.

"We have seen tangible evidence of Pakistan`s commitment to clamping down on extremist networks operating within its borders.

As you know, several top Afghan Taliban leaders - including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar - have been apprehended, and we are grateful to the Pakistani authorities for this," said Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, in the State Department.

"Immediately after the Times Square incident, we also began working closely with the Government of Pakistan on the investigation and they`ve been cooperative in assisting our efforts and we will continue to work with Islamabad on this important prosecution," Benjamin said in his speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Identifying Pakistan as a front-line partner in fighting extremists, Benjamin said the US provides a spectrum of assistance to Pakistani counterterrorism campaigns which range from police training to anti-money laundering efforts.

Undoubtedly the hundreds of millions of dollars directed to Pakistani counterterrorism efforts have saved American lives and we shouldn`t forget that Pakistan has put out-of-business more al Qaeda operatives than any other country, he said.

"Over the past year, the US government has seen very encouraging signs that Pakistan not only recognises the severity of the threat from violent extremists, but is actively working to counter and constrain it.

Pakistani military operations in Swat and Waziristan have eliminated militant strongholds and damaged the operational abilities of extremist groups.

Moreover, we are seeing increasing cross-border cooperation with Afghanistan and ISAF forces, which is instrumental in the reduction of key militant safe havens.

And in the wake of the operation in Swat, we have seen public opinion turn more decisively against the militants," Benjamin said.

"In late March, with the beginning of the Strategic Dialogue with Pakistan, we started a new phase in our partnership; with a new focus and a renewed commitment to work together to achieve the goals we share: stability, prosperity, and opportunity for the people of both Pakistan and the United States," Benjamin noted.

While this wasn`t the first Strategic Dialogue between our countries, it was the first at the ministerial level, and it reflects the Administration`s commitment to its success.

Under the Kerry-Lugar legislation we will be providing Pakistan with USD 1.5 billion a year for 5 years to address key developmental issues," he said.

"The discussions in the Strategic Dialogue generated new momentum and mutual trust to jointly tackle the extremist groups who threaten both Pakistan`s security and the US`s security," Benjamin said adding that under this new Dialogue, he will travel to Islamabad for the second time in three months with an interagency team in June to discuss terrorism with the Pakistanis.

During the trip, both countries will discuss how to better use non-military capabilities to fight extremism," Benjamin said.

PTI