Islamabad, January 13: Pakistan must fight militant groups that threaten Indian, US and Afghan interests, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, and offered $250 million aid for militancy affected people on Tuesday.
Visiting Pakistan after going to India over the weekend, Kerry said all terrorist groups should be targeted for the security of the region.
Terror groups like the Tehreek–e–Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, Lashkar–e–Taiba (Let), and other terrorist groups continue to pose a threat to Pakistan, its neighbours and to the US," Kerry said during a joint press conference here with Pakistan foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz.
While listing some of the most feared terrorist groups, he said "all of us have a responsibility to ensure that these terrorist groups do not gain a foothold but rather are pushed back into the recesses of (Pakistan’s) memory."
Most US–led forces in neighbouring Afghanistan officially completed their combat mission last month, prompting concerns about the stability of the region where insurgents have been increasingly aggressive in the past months.
Following the December 16 Taliban attack on the Peshawar Army School in which over 140 students and teachers were killed, Pakistan promised to stop differentiating between "good" and "bad" militants and to step up operations against their hideouts on the Afghan border.
Kerry expressed appreciation for the sacrifices of Pakistan’s military personnel and civilians in the fight against terrorism and extremism and commended Pakistan’s resolve and the steps being taken to tackle terrorism in a comprehensive and robust manner.
Kerry said Washington, which has spent billions of dollars on military aid to Pakistan will help it to fight insurgents and would provide an additiol $250 million aid in food, shelter and other assistance to help people displaced by the conflict in the tribal areas.
Speaking alongside Kerry, Sartaj Aziz made a plea to the US to keep giving Pakistan money to help rebuild the regions where the Pakistani military has been fighting militant groups. "We expect our defence forces to remain engaged in counter–terrorism operations for some time in the foreseeable future," Aziz said.
"Continuation of coalition support fund reimbursements is therefore a valuable support that must continue in the interests of both countries".
Meanwhile, during the joint press conference, key advisor Aziz said the US being an influential member of the intertiol community could prevail upon India to work with Pakistan for regiol peace and economic prosperity.
"The cancellation of foreign secretary–level talks by India, followed by the recent incidents of unprovoked and indiscrimite firing on the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (Intertiol Border) are a source of serious concern to Pakistan," he said.
"We hope, therefore, that US as an influential member of the intertiol community can prevail upon India to work with Pakistan towards regiol peace and economic prosperity." IANS