The ‘important steps’ taken by Pakistan against terror groups post Pulwama attack are still reversible, says a Alice G. Wells, a senior bureau official for South and Central Asian Affairs. The top US official said terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) will continue to pose a grave risk to international peace as long as they are able to operate freely in Pakistan. She urged the Pakistani government to take sustained actions against terrorists operating in the country.
“On the broader issue of counter-terrorism, the Pulwama terrorist attack in February that sparked a crisis between India and Pakistan underscored the importance and immediate need to halt terrorist activity in the region. We continue to urge Pakistani leaders to make good on their pledges to take sustained and irreversible actions against terrorist groups operating within the country’s borders, which is necessary for the long-term stability and propserity of the region.”
Wells acknowledged Pakistan for detaining some militants and seizing assets belonging to front organizations raising funds for the terrorist groups. She stressed that Pakistan must sustain these measures and expand upon them, including prosecuting terrorist leaders. The top US official highlighted the listing of Masood Azhar, JeM leader, at the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee. “His listing sends an important message that the international community will ‘not tolerate terrorism’.”
The United States also acknowledged Pakistan’s support in the Afghanistan peace process. “We recognize that Pakistan has taken steps to encorage Taliban participation in peace negotiations, which has been important to the progress we have made this far. Pakistani officials are correct when they say that no other country will benefit more from a peaceful Afghanistan than Pakistan, and we expect Pakistan to continue to play a constructive role in reconcilation efforts.”
Wells said the US is committed to building on substantial progress toward peace, counterterrorism, trade and transparency in the South Asia region.