Washington : In a blunt message, the US on Thursday told Pakistan it cannot “pick and choose” the terrorist groups it goes after and has to target militants who seek to harm its neighbours by taking refuge on its territory.
The US also rejected 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s remarks that America and India have joined hands against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and that the recent US-India defence logistics agreement is anti-Muslim.
“… I would dismiss it (Saeed’s comments) outright,” Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said in his daily press briefing. “…we made it very clear that Pakistan can’t pick and choose which terrorist groups it goes after and it has to go after those groups that seek to do harm to its neighbours and may seek refuge on Pakistani soil,” he said.
Toner said the US has a strong bilateral relationship with Pakistan, “but one that is premised on counterterrorism cooperation.” The US earlier said it is in constant “conversation” with the Pakistani leadership on the threats posed by terror organisations like the Haqqanis and LeT in the region. The dreaded Haqqani network, which is blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, has also carried out a number of attacks against US interests in Afghanistan.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had refused to give the necessary Congressional certification to Pakistan and had blocked military aid worth USD 300 million to Islamabad for not taking sufficient action against the Haqqani network.