NEW DELHI: A top American official on Wednesday asked Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups present within its territory, the US embassy said.
Alice Wells, the US Department of State's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, visited Islamabad this week and met officials of the Foreign Office. "Wells urged the government of Pakistan to address the continuing presence of the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups within its territory," the embassy said in a statement.
The Haqqani network, blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people, has also carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan. In her meetings with Pakistani officials, Ambassador Wells underlined that the US seeks to move toward a new relationship with Pakistan "based on our mutual interest in realizing a stable and prosperous region." She also acknowledged Pakistan's "considerable sacrifices" in fighting terrorism.
Wells also emphasized that the US South Asia strategy represents an opportunity to work together for the establishment of a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, the defeat of ISIS in South Asia, and the elimination of terrorist groups that threaten both Pakistan and the United States.
The statement from the US embassy comes days after the Trump administration suspended about USD 2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan over its failure to rein in militant groups.
In a strongest indication yet on the US cutting off aid to Pakistan, President Donald Trump said Washington had 'foolishly' provided Pakistan $33 billion in 15 years to fight terror, but "they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools".
"They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!," Trump tweeted on Monday.
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
On August 22, 2017, too, while unveiling the long-awaited strategy for Afghanistan, Trump had hit out at Pakistan for sheltering terrorists. Washington will no longer tolerate Pakistan and Taliban for offering protection to extremists, he had said. Accusing Pakistan of offering safe haven to `agents of chaos`, Trump had said that the country “has much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists." "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan," he had added.
The US President had again singled out Pakistan for criticism when he had announced his national security strategy in December 2017. "We make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," he had said.