US says will work to ensure it can ‘better assist’ Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The US State Department said on Monday Washington would continue to ensure it “better assists” Pakistan’s effort to counter militant attacks, days after suicide attacks ripped through two mosques last week, killing over 60 people.

Pakistan’s security situation has deteriorated since late last year when the Pakistani Taliban called off a tenuous truce with the government and vowed to launch more attacks.

Pakistan says the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, have become emboldened since the Afghan Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war. Authorities say TTP insurgents, who are allied but separate from the Afghan Taliban, have found sanctuaries and have even been living openly in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.

The Afghan government says it does not permit its soil to be used by armed groups against other nations. 

When questioned about why the US did not assist Pakistan by targeting TTP and Daesh hideouts in Afghanistan, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the US cooperated with Pakistan in a range of multilateral fora on issues including terrorist designations and global strategies to defeat terror groups. 

“Earlier this year we held a high-level counterterrorism dialogue to discuss the shared terrorist threats facing our two countries and to work on strategies to cooperate in areas such as border security, terrorist financing,” Miller told reporters. 

“And we will continue to work with Pakistan to ensure that we can better assist Pakistan’s effort to counter all forms of violent extremism.”

A surge in militant attacks in Pakistan’s western provinces has cast a shadow on election preparations and public campaigning in the run-up to January’s national vote, but until now the attacks had mostly targeted security forces.

The Pakistani Taliban, responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan since the group’s formation in 2007, denied responsibility for Friday’s two blasts. No other group has claimed responsibility either.

courtesy : arab news