Radical change in approach to Pakistan: US official

The White HouseWASHINGTON: The United States has said it is time for Pakistan to demonstrate fully its willingness to assist America in achieving its core counterterrorism goals .

“It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate fully that it is willing to assist the US in its core counterterrorism goals in the region,” a senior administration official told reporters during a conference call.

Unlike in the past, the United States has adopted a different approach to Pakistan. “This strategy marks a break with the status quo in US-Pakistan relations and marks a fundamental change in how we approach the challenge of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.

“While Pakistan is an important partner for achieving our priorities in the region, it must take decisive action against militant groups that are a threat to the region,” the official said.

Pakistan had much to gain from partnering with US efforts in the region, the official said, warning that at the same time it also had much to lose by failing to take adequate steps to counter terrorist groups.

“We will rely on a range of tools to convince Pakistani leaders that it is in their own interest to cooperate with us in Afghanistan. We recognise we have many common interests and common enemies in the region,” he added.

 The official, requesting anonymity, also recognised the sacrifices Pakistan has made in the fight against terrorism. However, he explained, no partnership could survive a country’s tolerance of militants and terrorists targeting US service members.

“The US has taken steps to assist Pakistan in its counterterrorism efforts. For instance, Operation Resolute Support has killed or captured the leaders of many anti-Pakistan terrorist groups, and it will continue to target these figures,” he said.

Being an important US partner, Pakistan must take decisive action against terrorist groups that posed a threat to US interests, the official stressed, acknowledging \Pakistan has legitimate interest in Afghanistan.

“We would be working with them and at the same time make it clear that support to terrorist groups is not the best way to serve their interests in the region,” the official said. -Pajhwok

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