KARACHI: The US stands ready to work with Pakistan in combatting all terrorists without distinction.
This was said by US State Department Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steven Goldstein during a press gaggle on Tuesday.
Goldstein was answering a question on rumours that Pakistan is suspending military and intelligence cooperation with the United States after the State Department announced it will suspend security assistance to Pakistan.
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He said the US hopes “to be able to renew and deepen our bilateral security relationship when Pakistan demonstrates its willingness to aggressively confront the Taliban network, the Haqqani Network, and other terrorist and military groups that operate from its territory. And we’ve been clear on that to the country of Pakistan.”
When pressed further on the issue, he said the US would like Pakistan to come to the table and assist in efforts to stabilise Afghanistan. He also said funding remains available to Pakistan.
“This is a suspension and not a cutoff. No funds have been reprogrammed, and we’re hopeful for future cooperation from Pakistan.”
Goldstein quoted David Hale, the US envoy to Pakistan, as telling him that Pakistan will continue supporting counter-terrorism efforts. “The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism, and its security forces have been effective in combatting the groups that target Pakistan’s interests. So it’s to their benefit to join with us in helping resolve this matter.”
To a question on Pakistan possibly cutting off resupply routes to Afghanistan, Goldstein said the US is looking into routes through Central Asian states while reminding that aid to Pakistan has been suspended, not cut off.
“We’re hopeful that Pakistan will come back to the table and do what they told us that they would do.”
He did not answer a question on Washington’s efforts to get Beijing to convince Islamabad to “crack down on terror groups”, as the US has demanded.
The fragile Pakistan-US relationship has taken a nosedive since Washington cut off all military assistance to Islamabad last week.