Conflicts & War

Pakistan rejects US report calling it ‘safe haven’ for terror groups

Islamabad, June 25 (efe-epa).- Pakistan on Thursday rejected a report by the United States that said the South Asian country was “continued to serve as a safe haven” for terrorist groups.

The foreign affairs ministry said the report by the US State Department was contradictory and not reflective of Islamabad’s efforts against terrorist violence.

“We are disappointed with the US State Department’s report on terrorism for 2019, which is self-contradictory and selective in its characterization of Pakistan’s efforts for countering terrorism and terrorist financing,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We reject any insinuation about any safe haven. Pakistan will not allow any group or entity to use its territory against any country,” the statement said.

The ministry insisted that Pakistan was itself facing terror threats from groups based in or supported by other countries.

The report released on Wednesday alleged that Pakistan allowed to “operate from its territory” the terror groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and its dreaded affiliate Haqqani Network, as well as groups targeting India, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliated front organizations, and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

“Islamabad has yet to take decisive actions against Indian- and Afghanistan-focused militants who would undermine their operational capability,” said the report.

It, however, acknowledged that in 2019 Pakistan had taken “modest steps” to check terror-financing.

It also praised the 11-year prison sentence handed to Hafiz Saeed, an Islamist leader and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, who is the alleged mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

The report said Islamabad had made “positive contributions” to the Afghan peace process, like urging the Afghan Taliban to reduce violence.

In a sharp reaction to the US observations, Pakistan insisted that its efforts had not been acknowledged sufficiently.

“The report fails to acknowledge the full extent of Pakistan’s support for the Afghan peace process. Pakistan’s positive contribution and facilitation of US-Taliban direct talks culminating in the peace agreement of 29 February 2020,” the ministry said.

Islamabad said that it hoped that the US would recognize all of its counter-terrorism efforts in its future reports and present a true and fair perspective on the global threat of terrorism. EFE-EPA

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