Washington: The US hopes Pakistan would live up to its word on not allowing terrorist safe havens on its soil, a senior Obama administration official said today after Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif ordered the military to ensure that the territory is not used for terrorism.
“Terrorist safe havens has been a long standing issue of discussion between the US and Pakistan and between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have seen Pakistan over the years going on offensive against different terrorist groups and take significant amount of casualties,” a senior administration official told reporters during a conference call.
The official was responding to a question on the statement by US President Barack Obama asking countries in the region to end terrorist safe havens.
“At the same time we have also seen persistent presence of various networks inside of Pakistan as well. This is something that we have consistently raised with them. We have expressed concerns with them, obviously about groups like the Taliban, the Haqqani network as well as of course al-Qaeda,” he said.
“Pakistan has co-operated with us, has taken steps to go after some of these groups, but we do believe that they need to provide continued pressure,” the official added.
His statement came after President Barack Obama announced adjustments in Afghan troop level and called on “all countries in the region to end safe havens for militants and terrorists”.
Meanwhile, another senior administration official praised General Sharif for his assertion against denying safe haven to terrorists within his country.
“He (General Sharif) issued instructions to the security elements, law enforcement, intelligence, military elements to ensure that the territory is not used for terrorism. We would see how this plays out on the ground,” the official said.
“General Sharif just today gave a speech in Pakistan, saying something that we heard from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan’s territory would not be allowed to use for terrorist attacks against its neighbours. What Raheel added today, which was very significant,” the senior official said.
What Prime Minister Sharif indicated to President Obama when he came to the White House last October is the recognition that Pakistan will only be secure if there is peace and stability in Afghanistan, the official added.
“And Pakistan has worked with the Afghan Government and President Ashraf Ghani to support a peace process that would align all forces; all the insurgents in Afghanistan in a political process to bring peace and stability.
“We hope Pakistan would continue to live up to its word and we were pleased to hear from General Raheel Sharif today,” the official added.