U.S. wants Pakistan to act quickly to show support in countering militants

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—Photo by Reuters


WASHINGTON: The United States wants Pakistan to move quickly to show good faith in supporting efforts to counter militants operating in Afghanistan and in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, the senior U.S. diplomat for South Asia said on Friday.

Speaking after accompanying U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on a visit to the region, including Pakistan, Alice Wells said Washington looked forward to seeing practical steps from Pakistan “over the next few weeks and months.”

“The secretary stressed the importance of Pakistan moving quickly to demonstrate good faith and efforts to use its influence to create the conditions that will get the Taliban to the negotiating table,” Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state for South Asia, told reporters.

She said Washington wanted Pakistan to show the same commitment it had made to defeat militant groups domestically to those threatening Afghanistan or India.

“It’s up to them whether or not they want to work with us,” Wells said. “And if they don’t … then we’ll adjust accordingly.”

Wells declined to elaborate on what action the United States might take or what specific actions it wanted Pakistan to take.

On Monday, during a visit to Kabul, Tillerson urged Pakistan to act against safe havens on its soil.

“Pakistan needs to, I think, take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they are confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organizations that find safe haven inside of Pakistan,” he said.

Pakistani officials bristle at the idea that the country is not doing enough against militants and say Pakistan has suffered more than 60,000 casualties in the war on terror since the Sept. 11 attacks in United States in 2001.—Reuters

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