Washington: The US has said it expects Pakistan to act in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the Pathankot attack and asked Islamabad to live up to its pledge that it will not "discriminate" among terror groups.
"The government of Pakistan has spoken very powerfully to this and it's certainly our expectation that they'll treat this exactly the way they've said they would," State Department Spokesman John Kirby said yesterday on the attack by Pakistani terrorists on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.
Kirby's remarks came hours after Pakistan said it is working on the "leads" provided by India on this attack. Kirby said the US has for a long time talked about the continued safe haven issues there between Afghanistan and Pakistan and certainly between India and Pakistan.
"We're mindful that there remain some safe havens that we obviously want to see cleared out. And we continue to engage with the government of Pakistan to that end. And again, I would point you back to what the government of Pakistan itself has said and acknowledged that it's not going to discriminate among terrorist groups and it will continue to take the fight (to them)," Kirby said.
The Pakistani government, the Pakistani people very much understand the threat here, he observed. "What we want and what we continue to say we want and will continue to work for is increased cooperation, communication, coordination, increased information-sharing and increased efforts against what we all believe is a shared challenge in the region," Kirby said.
"We want to see the government of Pakistan continue to press the fight against terrorists, all terrorists, and to meet their own expectations that they're not going to discriminate among groups. They've said that themselves, and our expectation is that they'll live up to that pledge," he said.
Describing terrorism as a "shared challenge" in South Asia, the US official also asked all countries in the region to work together to disrupt and dismantle terrorist networks and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Pathankot terrorist attack.
"We urge all the countries in the region to work together to disrupt and dismantle terrorist networks and to bring to justice the perpetrators of this particular attack. I would note that the government of Pakistan, also publicly and privately condemned this recent attack on the Indian air base.
Kirby said the US is encouraged by the government of Pakistan condemning this attack, and the statement that they have made about not discriminating among groups. "As we've said before, this is an issue that, as are so many issues between India and Pakistan, we want to see them work out bilaterally," Kirby said, adding that normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan remains vital to the security and economic prosperity of the entire region.
"We strongly encourage the governments of both India and Pakistan to remain steadfast in their commitment to a more secure and prosperous future for both our countries and for their region," Kirby said.
"We have been clear with the highest levels of the government of Pakistan that it must continue to target all militant groups," he said.
The government of Pakistan has said publicly and privately that it is not going to discriminate among terrorist groups as part of its counter-terrorism operation, the US official said. "So this is a shared challenge that we all face in the region and we in the United States want everybody to treat it as a shared challenge," Kirby said, adding that the US has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Punjab's Pathankot.
"We extend our condolences to all the victims and their families," he said. "We recognise there's more everybody can do, not just Pakistan but every nation can do because it is a shared challenge and it's a challenge, as you well know, that doesn't necessarily observe borders and boundaries. So it's something that everybody can attack more," Kirby added.