US asks Pak to take firm action against terrorism

US has said that Pak may have to face consequences if it fails to take firm action to stem terrorism.

Last Updated: Oct 09, 2010, 17:15 PM IST

Washington: In a veiled warning to Pakistan,
the US has said the country may have to face consequences if
it fails to take firm action to stem terrorism.

"I am going to take the optimistic view that rational
people do rational things and that -- with the help of friends
and allies and common goals -- Pakistan will avoid, or
hopefully avoid, that unfortunate eventuality," outgoing
National Security Adviser James Jones told the German magazine
`De Spiegel` yesterday.

He made the remarks shortly before his resignation when
asked - should cooperation with the Pakistani army fail, is
there a possibility that Pakistan would become the next
military target of the US?

"But hope is not a strategy, so we have to be cognisant
of the fact that there are things which could happen that
could alter the relationship if we are not careful," Jones
said in his last interview as the National Security Adviser.

One of the toughest messages to Pakistan from the top US
official comes after revelation made by investigative
journalist Bob Woodward in his latest book that the Obama
Administration has a `retribution` plan, one of the most
sensitive and secretive of all military contingencies.

The plan calls for bombing of about 150 identified
terrorist camps in a brutal, punishing attack inside Pakistan,
according to Woodward`s book "Obama`s War."

Jones last night announced his resignation as the
National Security Adviser. He is being replaced by his deputy,
Tom Donilon.

Jones said the US has been working very closely with the
Pakistani government for a long time now. In some cases, the
Pakistanis have responded quite well.

Their operations against militants in the Swat Valley and
South Waziristan, for example, were timely and very effective,
he observed.

At the same time, there has been a very steady message
that Pakistan needs to do more to stem terrorism, especially
when they know where it is and when officials have information
about what the terrorists are doing, Jones said.

"If the Pakistanis are going to be a partner in the long
term, they have to make a commitment that shows the watching
world that they are serious about forms of terrorism," Jones
said.

"Our enemies are the radicals who are targeting not only
the US but also Europe, who advocate violence and who want to
bring harm to our way of life and the world as we know it
today. This is not a threat which is going to go away in the
near future. This is a 21st-century-reality, a struggle at
least for the first half of the century," he said in the
interview.

`The Washington Post`, meanwhile, reported that during
the Af-Pak policy review last year, Jones was opposed to
increase in US troops in Afghanistan, unless the safe havens
in Pakistan were destroyed.

"During the Afghanistan strategy review last fall, Jones
challenged military leaders to justify their troop requests,
drawing on his experience as the former supreme allied
commander in Europe to do so.

"Jones often expressed the position that additional
troops would not make much difference in Afghanistan until
neighbouring Pakistan closed down the sanctuaries used by
al-Qaeda operatives and Taliban fighters," the Post said.

According to Woodward`s book, Jones, during one of his
meetings with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, told him
that Obama`s only choice in the case of a terrorist attack
having roots in Pakistan would be to respond.

"There would be no alternative. The US can no longer
tolerate Pakistan`s a la carte approach to going after some
terrorist groups and supporting, if not owning, others," the
book said, adding that Jones did not reveal that an American
response could entail a retribution campaign of bombing up to
150 known terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan.

"You can do something that costs you no money," Jones
told Zardari, according to the book.

"It may be politically difficult, but it`s the right
thing to do if you really have the future of your country in
mind. And that is to reject all forms of terrorism as a viable
instrument of nation national policy inside your borders,"
Jones told Zardari.

PTI