Washington: Expressing serious concern over the threat issued by Taliban against foreign aid workers in flood-ravaged Pakistan, US has started reviewing the security procedures of its aid workers; while the Pentagon warned that its personnel engaged in relief operation have the right of self defence.
"We have information of the potential targeting of foreign relief workers in Pakistan as well as government ministries," State Department spokesman, P J Crowley, told reporters when asked about this threat from the Taliban in Pakistan which have asked all the foreign aid workers to leave the country or they will be killed.
"We`re in possession of threat information (from the Taliban). We are talking to and working with the Government of Pakistan to do everything we can to make sure that our
disaster response and Pakistan`s disaster response can continue in light of this threat," he said.
Crowley said US is concerned that extremist elements within Pakistan, including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), may well decide to attack foreigners who are in the
country and helping the people of Pakistan, or may choose at this time to attack government institutions in Pakistan that are responding on behalf of the Pakistani people.
"I think it just underscores the bankrupt vision that these extremists have, and we are conscious of that threat. We are working with the Government of Pakistan to deal with that threat, but it is something that we are watching very carefully," he said.
The State Department official said the US is looking at the potential implications.
"Security is obviously an ongoing concern to us given what we know happened recently next door in Afghanistan.
So we are conscious of this threat; it is a real threat," he said.
"We are working with the Government of Pakistan.
But obviously, to the extent that this is something that extremists in Pakistan are contemplating, it demonstrates their disregard for the welfare of the people of Pakistan,"
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said its personnel who are currently engaged in relief and rescue operation have the right to defend themselves in the case of any eventuality.
"At this point the security mission is handled by the Pakistani military.
So, even when our military forces are going out, Pakistani forces are providing security," said Dave Lapan, the Pentagon spokesman.
"We are there at the behest of the Pakistani Government and military. We are essentially taking orders from them. We obviously always have right of self defence, in things like that and we do not give up.
But in terms of where we are based, what types of services we are providing ? all of that is done collaboratively with the Pakistanis," Lapan said.