Islamabad (November 30, 2017): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has brushed aside US accusations that Pakistan provides sanctuary to militant groups, saying that attacks in the region were originating from Afghanistan.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, he said Pakistan would act against terrorists found within its borders, including the Haqqani network.
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“We have asked them to share any intelligence about the Haqqani network, we will take action,” Abbasi said, referring to the US. The prime minister said the attacks however were being made from across the border.
“We have pinpointed even the sanctuaries of the attackers. Cross-border infiltration from Afghanistan is the order of the day,” he said.“There is no room for them to take a tough stance here, because Pakistan is the country which is fighting the war on terror,” the Pakistani leader said. “Somebody gives us intelligence and we will act upon it. It is our war, not theirs.”
When asked if Pakistan would move against Taliban leaders who have allegedly lived for years in Quetta, Abbasi said, “we will act against them if they really exist.”
Abbasi reiterated that Trump’s troop increase and support to Afghanistan will end in failure and urged the Afghan government and the Taliban to agree to peace talks.
“We have assured them of whatever assistance we would be able to offer, but things are quite fragmented on that side,” he said. “Pakistan has tried twice, but the talks have been sabotaged.”When his attention was drawn to the court-ordered release of Hafiz Saeed, Abbasi said, “The court, a three-judge bench, has released him saying there are no charges against him, the country has a law you know.”
“Prosecute him internationally if there is substance to these charges, these are accusations only. No evidence has been provided by India,” he said.
Earlier, the top US general in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that he had not seen a change in Pakistan’s alleged support for militants so far, despite President Donald Trump taking a tougher line against Islamabad.
US officials have long been frustrated by what they see as Pakistan’s reluctance to act against groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network that they believe exploit safe haven on Pakistani soil to launch attacks on neighboring Afghanistan.In August, Trump outlined a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, chastising Pakistan over its alleged support for militants.
He accused Pakistan of harboring “agents of chaos” and providing safe havens to militant groups waging an insurgency against a US-backed government in Kabul.
US official expressed hope that relations between the two countries could improve after a kidnapped US-Canadian couple and their three children were freed in Pakistan in October, after the couple was abducted in neighboring Afghanistan.
“We have been very direct and very clear with the Pakistanis… we have not seen those changes implemented yet,” General John Nicholson told reporters.“We are hoping to see those changes, we are hoping to work together with the Pakistanis going forward to eliminate terrorists who are crossing the border,” Nicholson said.
He added that he believed that senior Taliban leaders were based in Pakistan, while the lower level leadership was in Afghanistan.
Pakistan says it has done a great deal to help the United States in tracking down terrorists.