Terror safe havens in Pakistan no longer acceptable: McCain

McCain 01KABUL:  Senator John McCain on Tuesday said safe havens enjoyed by the Haqqani and other terrorist networks in Pakistan were unacceptable to the United States of America.

John McCain, chairman of the influential Armed Services Committee of the US Senate, arrived in Kabul on Tuesday accompanied by other members of the committee.

After meeting the Afghan leaders, John McCain told a news conference in Kabul that they had beneficial talks with the Afghan leaders on different important issues. He said the Afghans had paid a huge price in the war against terrorist and the Afghan security forces daily offered sacrifices.

He said the American forces were engaged in the campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure their own security at home. The senator said extremism was not confined to Afghanistan but it posed threat to the entire region and needed a strong campaign to be dealt with.

Expressing his concern about the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, John McCain hoped for early positive changes in the war-torn country.

The US delegation arrived in Kabul from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad where they met senior Pakistani civil and military officials and also toured the Waziristan tribal region.

To a question, the US senator said safe havens of terrorist groups in Pakistan were no longer acceptable to the US. He said the Pakistan military had assured of having taken action against the Haqqanis, but said Pakistan needed to do more.

John McCain asked Pakistan to cooperate with the US and Afghan governments in their operations against the Haqqani and other terrorist outfits.

Meanwhile, US senator Lindsey Graham said Pakistan would be prized if it shunned pursuing its old policies and would be punished otherwise.

Graham was quoted as saying this during a meeting with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah at his office in Kabul.

A statement from the CEO office said Abdullah met a delegation of US senators led by John McCain in the Sapidar Palace.

The statement John McCain during his meeting with the CEO said Pakistan had showed readiness to cooperate with Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan should support Afghanistan in fighting against terrorism. “Our relations Pakistan could not continue if it does not change,” he said.

The statement added US senator Lindsey Graham said Pakistan would be prized if it changed but would be punished if continued with its old policy.

He hoped Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon or lower house elections would be a success in 2018. Other US senators part of the delegation also talked during the meeting and said their country would continue supporting Afghanistan.

They expressed concern at contacts between Talibaninfo-icon and some regional countries and said America would also continue its military support to the Afghan forces.

For his part, Abdullah welcomed the visiting US senators and thanked America for its support with Afghanistan in different areas.

About the country’s domestic situation, he said the distance between the people and the government had widened, an issue he said needed attention. He said the current situation of Afghanistan needed a positive change as people could no longer tolerate the ongoing situation.

About parliamentary elections in 2018, he said the government was committed to holding the elections as there was no better alternative to the democratic process.

Pointing to the US senators visit to Pakistan, Abdullah said \Islamabad should be pressed to stop supporting terrorist groups. “We do not blame Pakistan for all our problems, but this country should not be exempted,” the CEO said. -Pajhwok

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