ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday rejected US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s recent comments on militant safe havens in Pakistan, a move that could intensify tensions between troubled allies Islamabad and Washington.
“We feel that the Secretary of Defense is oversimplifying some of the very complex issues we are all dealing with in our efforts against extremism and terrorism,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We strongly believe that such statements are misplaced and unhelpful in bringing about peace and stability in the region.”
Panetta said on Thursday that stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan would remain difficult as long as militants had safe havens in Pakistan.
“It is very important for Pakistan to take steps. It is an increasing concern, the issue of safe haven, and we are reaching the limits of our patience,” he said, using some of the strongest language from a senior US official on Washington’s strained relations with Islamabad.
“Pakistan has repeatedly said that it will not allow its territory to be used against any country, nor will it allow any safe havens on its territory,” the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, adding that Islamabad will “follow its own timeline” and strategy on operations against militants.
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