US appreciates Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts
The US has praised Pakistan for making progress in its fight against terrorism by conducting military operations against militant networks in the country's restive tribal North Waziristan Province.
Washington: The US has praised Pakistan for making progress in its fight against terrorism by conducting military operations against militant networks in the country's restive tribal North Waziristan Province.
The US appreciation came yesterday even as India charged Pakistan for "mainstreaming of terrorism" following its support to a recent rally by 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
"The operations have disrupted militant activities in the tribal areas and resulted in seizures of weapons caches and significant quantities of IED materials. The affected groups had been using the area to plan and launch attacks into Afghanistan and within Pakistan," Jarrett Blanc, Principal Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.
Blanc said the US security assistance had aided Pakistan in the North Waziristan campaign as it enhanced its ability to strike with precision with F-16s and limit the collateral damage in the process.
"The operation is the latest phase of Pakistan's efforts to extend greater government control in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), beginning with Bajaur Agency in 2008 and is the most extensive of the FATA operations conducted to date," Blanc said.
"But it is also clear that the job is not done," Blanc said adding that militant groups such as the Pakistani Taliban and Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani Network, continue to pose a threat to Pakistan, its neighbours and to the US.
"As such, it is vital that the operation continues and that every effort is made not just to disrupt safe havens and militant networks, but to prevent them from being re- established in the tribal areas and from operating elsewhere in Pakistan," he said.
Blanc said the US was concerned about public reports of groups being assisted in leaving these areas prior to the operation.
"Pakistani leaders have told us that they are targeting all militant groups, including the Haqqani Network, and we will hold them to these commitments," he said.
"In particular we have been very clear with the Pakistani leadership about the need to prevent the re-establishment of Haqqani safe havens, and Pakistani leaders have said publicly that they will not allow this to happen," Blanc said.
"I know that many in Pakistan have been surprised by what they discovered in Miram Shah and Mir Ali networks, tunnels, IED factories and munitions. These discoveries underscore the risks of safe havens on either side of the Afghanistan- Pakistan border," he added.