WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Pakistan needs to do more in its fight against terrorism, the Trump Administration told lawmakers on Wednesday adding that its expectations now is same as in the aftermath of the twin tower attacks in New York in 2001.
“Pakistan certainly needs to do more,” Nathan Alexander Sales, the State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism told members of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade during a Congressional hearing.
“We are very concerned about support for terrorism in any region of the world. And I can tell you we have communicated to the Pakistani government at the highest levels that we expect them to do more just like we expected them to act with us after 9/11,” Nathan Alexander Sales, the State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism said during a Congressional hearing.
“Pakistan has in the past been a very effective counterpart in taking the fight to Al-Qaeda. We need them to do the same thing with respect to the Haqqanis, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the other terrorist groups that are active in the region,” he said.
Sales was responding to concerns expressed by Congressmen in this regard.
“I think they’re not doing their job, despite terrorism, because the terrorists come in from Pakistan into Afghanistan, do their mischief, and run back across the border. I think they’ve been doing that for years,” Congressman Ted Poe said.
“They take our money….millions of dollars we give Pakistan every year. It befuddles me why we do that when they don’t — and they allow a safe haven for terrorists in their own country that invade another country, namely Afghanistan,” Poe alleged.
Sales said that his bureau in the State department has been funding a USD54 million program to boost the capability of Afghan forces to defend urban areas.
“In recent months we’ve seen the Taliban,” he said.
The United States, he said, has been providing training and resources and equipment to local officials to help them interdict operative before they come in to protected areas, to respond to crisis in the heat of the moment, do to effective screening of potential threats, and to respond after a terrorist incident takes place.
Sales said that the President’s South Asia strategy is the policy for Afghanistan which is conditions based. “We’re not going to set an arbitrary deadline because that will just cause the terrorists to wait us out,” he said.
“We want conditions based approach under which the Afghan government participates in a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, with other interested parties in the region to ensure that we have a strong unity government that can deny safe haven,” he said.
From a counterterrorism standpoint, the US cannot afford to go back to a pre-2001 environment in Afghanistan or elsewhere where terrorists enjoy safe haven. “Because when terrorists enjoy safe haven they project power outward and attack us and our friends,” Sales said.