Pakistan can and must do more to dismantle terrorist networks: Obama

Published: January 24, 2016
US President Barack Obama. PHOTO: AFP

US President Barack Obama. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: US President Barack Obama has urged Pakistan to show it is “serious” about crushing extremist networks operating on its territory, saying the latest mass killing of students underlined the need for more decisive action.

In an interview with the Press Trust of India published on Sunday, Obama praised recent crackdowns by Pakistani security forces but said more should be done to eradicate violent groups.

“Pakistan has an opportunity to show that it is serious about delegitimising, disrupting and dismantling terrorist networks,” Obama told the news agency in Washington.

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“In the region and around the world, there must be zero tolerance for safe havens and terrorists must be brought to justice.”

Twenty-one people were killed last Wednesday in an attack at a university campus in Charsada which was claimed by a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, barely a year after a massacre at a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 people.

Obama said the crackdown on extremists was “the right policy” but was quoted as saying that Pakistan “can and must” take more effective action.

“Since then (Peshawar), we have seen Pakistan take action against several specific groups,” said Obama.

“We have also seen continued terrorism inside Pakistan such as the recent attack on the university in northwest Pakistan.”

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India has blamed gunmen belonging to the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed for an attack on one of its air force bases close to the Pakistan border earlier this month that left seven soldiers dead.

Obama said that attack in Punjab was “another example of the inexcusable terrorism that India has endured for too long”.

The attack came only days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had paid his first visit to Pakistan, dropping in for talks with his counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his way home from Afghanistan.

Modi has resisted pressure to put ties with Pakistan back in deep freeze after the air base attack, and Obama endorsed the continuation of contacts.

“Both leaders are advancing a dialogue on how to confront violent extremism and terrorism across the region,” Obama said.

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Reader Comments (45)

  • Shuaib
    Jan 24, 2016 - 4:49PM

    The US can and should do more.Recommend

  • Sam
    Jan 24, 2016 - 4:56PM

    Look who is ordering….in pasw five years Obama visited India twice , but he didn’t bother to visit pak , instead giving orders “Do More”Recommend

  • Asian
    Jan 24, 2016 - 5:10PM

    I am waiting for a republican president at the White House. Recommend

  • Jan 24, 2016 - 5:17PM

    You are the terrorit number 1. You killed more people than anybody ekse.Recommend

  • Aakashvaani
    Jan 24, 2016 - 5:42PM

    @Shahid Akram: Keep telling that to yourself, no one cares for a bunch of terrorists. Justice is coming, Wait you just.Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Jan 24, 2016 - 5:44PM

    Obama is right. But then Pakistanis don’t view it as an existential threat. It’s too late to do anything now. A little time more and it will all be over. Recommend

  • vcbhutani
    Jan 24, 2016 - 5:54PM

    These are heart-warming words from the US president. He has said all the right things and nothing that we could take exception to. What we can say in passing, however, is that the US administration needs to work with Pakistan and maintain its pressure on Pakistan to deliver on Nawaz Sharif’s promises. We understand the limitations under which Nawaz Sharif works but there is no running away from the truth of Obama’s remark that “Pakistan can and must” take effective steps to make sure that the infrastructure of terror in Pakistan and POK is ended. It should be clear to Obama, and to Modi, and even more to Nawaz Sharif, that India has had enough of suffering at Pakistan’s hands. A day must come when an Indian prime minister will arise to tell his Pakistani counterpart: “You must wind up the infrastructure of terror in Pakistan and POK. If you don’t, I will.” If and when that happens, that may be a day of reckoning for Pakistan which no leader of Pakistan will relish. Pakistan’s present leaders should act while there is time. Obama can help by emphasizing this to Pakistan’s leaders from time to time. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, 24 Jan 2016, 1824 ISTRecommend

  • Jan 24, 2016 - 5:54PM

    This is an outright insult to OUR kids who are dying and OUR military personal who are giving sacrifices. With all due respect, just shut up and leave white house already !Recommend

  • Bharatiya Oz
    Jan 24, 2016 - 5:59PM

    Clearly frustration expressed by Pakistani friends comments…However what Obama says is truth though bitter…Had Pakistan taken strong action against Mumbai attackers, Pathankot terrorists etc, the perception would be different…Instead of questioning these, most Pakistanis become defensive and keep ignoring the real issues. No wonder at least some terrorists think they have support of Pakistan just because they call themselves freedom fighters. Time for introspection and till such time you start calling terrorists a Terrorist and bring them to justice, these snakes will keep you busy.Recommend

  • TP
    Jan 24, 2016 - 6:01PM

    @Shahid Akram:
    More than Timur? He accounted for 17 million humans.Recommend

  • Salim Khan
    Jan 24, 2016 - 6:08PM

    Agree with Obama,its in our interest to eliminate all terrorists including those who are our assets. Otherwise, the state itself will be endangered. Recommend

  • a_writer
    Jan 24, 2016 - 6:21PM

    would you go into a terror infested neighborhood if you are a sane person?Recommend

  • Sajid Rabbani
    Jan 24, 2016 - 6:29PM

    Mr. president, have you taken the pain of reading the Dossier submitted to UN and to your office by Pakistan ? Can you/UN take any action against our enemies [you exactly know who our enemies are] or at least respond to our submitted Dossier ?

    Unfortunately, the answer is No.Recommend

  • Jan 24, 2016 - 6:48PM

    @Asian: u must be a chronic warmonger! Peace!

    The US must also practice what it preaches rather then the duplicitous games it plays in encouraging India. PPP-PMLN this mantra of the US should be taken seriously. SaladsRecommend

  • AJ
    Jan 24, 2016 - 6:53PM

    Pakistan’s narrative outside of Pakistan regarding terror has no takers. The misadventures of the past coming back to haunt the country. Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jan 24, 2016 - 7:28PM

    “Look who is ordering….in pasw five years Obama visited India twice , but he didn’t bother to visit pak , instead giving orders “Do More””

    In fact Obama has visited Pakistan long before he visited India and also that the duration of his visit to Pakistan was for a longer time than the total of all his visits to India. Obama visited Pakistan and stayed with the family of his Pakistani friend when he was young, long before he became US President!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Malik Saab
    Jan 24, 2016 - 7:29PM

    Obama must shut up. America can do more and leave us alone. Recommend

  • HG
    Jan 24, 2016 - 7:54PM

    Are you waiting Trump in white house? BravoRecommend

  • Cricket
    Jan 24, 2016 - 8:08PM

    @Shuaib: US can, but shouldn’t do more. Its high time the countries and peoples who patronize such groups face the backlash and deal with it.
    So funny watching people going on a rant about USA and Obama, when what he says will actually benefit Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Jan 24, 2016 - 8:27PM

    The man from the Alcapone city of chicago is soon going to retire and will be returning to his ancestoral home in Africa and will be running a Security firm claiming to have had a vast white house experience?

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • Saqib
    Jan 24, 2016 - 8:45PM

    Is there any bigger terrorist than USA?Recommend

  • curious2
    Jan 24, 2016 - 8:55PM

    His message may not be popular in Pakistan but it’s obvious to most of the World. Despite the rhetoric Pakistan hasn’t taken serious steps to curtail extremist who attack Afghanistan or India. Equally important it hasn’t taken steps to curtail religious extremism within Pakistan as demonstrated by poll which indicates that near 30% of Pakistanis seem to sympathize with ISIS. Recommend

  • ramdar
    Jan 24, 2016 - 9:05PM

    ”Obama visited India twice , but he didn’t bother to visit pak , instead giving orders …”
    Should he visit a country where majority show strong hostility, remain ungrateful & treat his sincere advise as uncalled ordering…Recommend

  • Babbarsher Khan
    Jan 24, 2016 - 10:09PM

    Brobama, I urge you to read newspapers, our PM is currently busy with solving existential threat facing our great Islamic Ummah, trying to be a peace mediator between the theocracies of Iran and Saudi Arabia. All the other problems can wait, including those which pose existential threat to our great nation. It’s a question of priority, maan!Recommend

  • Murphy
    Jan 24, 2016 - 10:18PM

    Pakistan needs to get out of denial, introspect, realize there is no good or bad terrorists, shed terrorism as state policy. Hope good sense will prevail!. Recommend

  • Chacha Jee
    Jan 24, 2016 - 10:36PM

    When Trumps become President of USA, Pakistan will repeat WILL do more.Recommend

  • Ravi
    Jan 24, 2016 - 10:37PM

    What does Pakistan expect international community to say. That continue with double speak.

    Then Pakistan should not crib n cry about being biggest victim of terrorism.

    Innocents students are recent victims. But no one seems to mind words from Maulana or Salaludhhin.

    Don’t take cover of kashmir dispute rather come forward with constructive n positive solutions for long term peaceRecommend

  • Sardar KHAN
    Jan 24, 2016 - 10:39PM

    Lol.Look who is talking.The leader of usa,whose agencies create ,support and finance these terrorist oranizations all the time declaring them jihadies(warrior of holy war).But when they finished their allotted tasks.They are called terrorists.His own country is the biggest terrorist sponsor in the world.Whom he is giving the interview to an indian journalist whose country is run by terrorist Modi.That is the biggest joke of the century.SHAME ON Obama soon an ex president becoming no body in the world.Recommend

  • BlackHat
    Jan 24, 2016 - 11:30PM

    Obama wants things done cheap. Pakistan will do more but it will cost more dollars. Business is not charity, though Hafiz Sayed might say charity is business.Recommend

  • Sane
    Jan 24, 2016 - 11:52PM

    It’s not new to see Obama so naive and blind as his reputation proceeds him. He is right is saying that “Pakistan has an opportunity to show that it is serious about delegitimising, disrupting and dismantling terrorist networks,”…. So please pass a resolution in UN and let Pakistan allow to hot pursue the perpetrators of these mass killings i.e. TTP leadership who, under the shelter of Afghan government, are in their safe havens on their soil.Recommend

  • Sane
    Jan 24, 2016 - 11:55PM

    And Obama and US didn’t give the official reply on evidences and dossiers furnished to them in UN on terrorism by foreign countries’. Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 25, 2016 - 12:01AM


    If India had the capacity & courage it would have done it An aspiring ‘super power, is begging for help. It speaks volumes about India’s ca[acity .

    Pakistan will do what suits and what is in its interest. Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn
    Jan 25, 2016 - 12:03AM

    I see many Pakistanis complaining about Obama’s comment… Guys, when you take money from someone for years, they expect you to do things!!Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 25, 2016 - 12:15AM

    Do not pay any heed to Obama. US is untrustworthy and opportunist. Pakistan should do what is in its interest and the way it has strategized. What Obama has said , is on India’s behest.

    We are winning the battles and will win the war . Recommend

  • confused
    Jan 25, 2016 - 12:23AM

    Obama isn’t saying anything that China, Iran, Afghanistan and India have been saying for years – he just gets more publicity. None of your neighbors believe you have taken sufficient steps to tackle the extremist who attack them … but Obama points out that you haven’t even taken sufficient steps to root out the extremist who attack Pakistan. When in doubt – ask yourself why the Imam terrorist who runs the Red Mosque isn’t in jail.Recommend

  • Kal
    Jan 25, 2016 - 1:18AM

    The charsadda attack master mind was in Afghanistan. It’s the americans who need to start doing more in Afghanistan!Recommend

  • indus
    Jan 25, 2016 - 2:25AM

    Obama is spot on. Instead of blaming US, Pakistan should learn to stand on its own feet without aid. Pakistan is a victim of it’s own policies. Now please eradicate terrorist outfits for the good of the region.Recommend

  • Hameed
    Jan 25, 2016 - 3:42AM


    The US can and should do more.

    Something on the lines of Abbottabad? I concur.Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed Khan
    Jan 25, 2016 - 3:55AM

    Obama should mind own business, the world chaos created by US is enough already! Wherever they went its in chaos, let me remind you Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, all intervention by US of A resulted in more unstable world!
    Somehow the terrorist from Muslim world only attack Muslim countries, are these terrorists really working for or against the Muslim world? somehow they sprung up when power vacuum is created by “peaceful forces” trying to liberate countries out of tyrants. All these ended up in far worst conditions in the end!

    Dont think USA and allies are doing this just by coincidence and without any well thought out plans of such outcomes! Recommend

  • someone
    Jan 25, 2016 - 3:57AM

    Why would he visit if he can do it over the phone?Recommend

  • Jan 25, 2016 - 4:36AM

    Dear TP,
    I will not defend anybody who killed 17 million or even one person. But in our age US killed more than anybody elseRecommend

  • sharath chandra
    Jan 25, 2016 - 6:08AM

    Pakistan should do more for its own sake. Recommend

  • vinsin
    Jan 25, 2016 - 7:00AM

    @Shahid Akram:
    More than Bangladeshi Genocide.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 25, 2016 - 8:59AM

    Commenters above must not have noticed all those Pakistani “banned” militant groups that still openly operate and hold rallies right under the noses of government agencies!
    Let’s recall all those Good Taliban groups (Afghan and India/Kashmir specific!) that are somehow untouched in that Army operation in FATA, which is not really a surprise since all can recall FO Aziz’s claim that Pakistan should not target militant groups that are not attacking Pakistan!Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn
    Jan 25, 2016 - 8:58PM

    “Do not pay any heed to Obama. US is untrustworthy and opportunist.”

    Why don’t you keep that in mind when milking aid from the US? You don’t think US is trustworthy but have no problems taking & in fact demanding American money?Recommend

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