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Doing everything to ensure Pak shuts terror groups: US

Source: PTI
November 26, 2009 12:38 IST
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The US said it was "doing everything" to make sure that Pakistan smashes terror groups like Lashkar-e-Tayiba and denies them safe havens, as India remembered the 183 people who fell to terrorists' bullets in attacks on Mumbai exactly a year ago.

US National Security Adviser Gen (Retired) James Jones said on Thursday that it was in Pakistan's self-interest to take on all kinds of terrorist organisations and if it did so, it would get international support and much more economic assistance.

"I can assure you that we have made our position very clear (to Pakistan). We continue to have daily interaction (with Pakistan), we are doing everything we can to encourage them to disarm all of them because I said it is in their own interest," Jones said in an interview.

"There is no question that the so-called safe havens in Pakistan are deeply troubling our efforts," he said.

The national security adviser said President Barack Obama feels deeply about the Mumbai attacks and there was a "common cause" between the two countries on the issue. He said terrorism in any form is not acceptable and India and the US would work closely to reduce that threat.

Jones has just returned from Pakistan, where he delivered a message from the Obama Administration asking Islamabad to step up pressure and reorient its fight against Taliban and the Al Qaeda.

"We believe that it is in Pakistan's self-interest that they take on all terrorist organisations they know are existing and they know where they are existing within their borders.

"And if they do that, they will find tremendous international support, much more economic assistance and they will be a safer country as a result of this and the region will be better," Jones said.

He was responding when pointed out that Pakistan was selective in fight against terrorism as it was taking on Taliban and turning a blind eye to existence of groups like LeT and the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

"We all have an interest in this to make sure that Pakistan does the right thing and we will be working hard to collaboratively assist them," the US official said.

He said the US understands India's concerns when asked to comment on New Delhi's disappointment over inaction by Pakistan in the Mumbai attacks, with mastermind Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed remaining untouched by Pakistani authorities even a year after the assaults.

The issue also came up during the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Obama here on Tuesday. Admiring the fact that Pakistan wants to do it itself, he said, "it's good and we should encourage them and we should encourage them to take on all terrorist organisations."

"We will hope that Pakistan has taken a decision to get rid of terrorism from their country and safe havens and we are doing everything in this regard. Continuing the safe havens would not only de-stabilise their country internally, but the region as well.

"So it is extremely important that all of us support the efforts that they are taking to dismantle these safe havens," Jones said.

When pointed out that Pakistan was, in fact, limiting its actions in Swat and South Waziristan and hesitant to go into North Waziristan, he said, "We believe that for the benefit of Pakistan they have to rid themselves of this insurgency, not just certain ones, but all of them."

He said the US would encourage Pakistan to pull more troops from the border with India and commit them in the fight against Taliban since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined that Pakistan faced no threat from India.

"This (fight) is relatively new for Pakistan. When they came here in March to look at the strategy, they went back and started their military manoeuvres, as they felt comfortable enough to pull out some troops from the Indian border, which we thought was encouraging," he said.

"We would encourage them to do more and commit the force necessary (for fight against terrorism)," he added.

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