Asserting that Pakistan’s struggle with terrorism will not come to an end until it makes a decisive shift in its policy of tolerance towards externally-focused groups, the US said that there can be no peace in the region until these cross-border attacks are stopped’.
The statements were made by US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Olson before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, adding US President Barack Obama’s administration had also conveyed this message to the Pakistani government, reports Dawn.
Olson, also emphasised the need for a constructive relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which he said was essential for bringing peace and stability to the region. Prior to his current position, he was the US ambassador in Islamabad.
Noting that relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan experienced a “significant improvement” when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani came to power, he said they “peaked and troughed” over the past year in part due to critical issues, including refugees, border management, and counterterrorism.
He also underlined encouraging signs of progress in recent months between the two countries, stating that after a meeting in June between Afghan and Pakistani foreign policy chiefs, both sides agreed to coordinate at senior and tactical levels on border management issues.
Kabul also provided Islamabad with evidence that prompted the Pakistan military to conduct combing operations in a few key areas along the border, in the wake of the deadly August 24 attack at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.
Olson said that the Pakistani military had made progress in shutting down terrorist safe havens through Operation Zarb-i-Azb, adding Islamabad had also worked with the United States to decimate core Al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, the US diplomat told the Senate committee that Pakistan’s leaders had assured Washington of their intention to do so. He also emphasized that the US would also continue to support the India-Afghanistan relationship, including through the revival of a US-India-Afghanistan trilateral talks.