In a stinging indictment of Pakistan’s claims of acting against terror groups operating on its soil, the United States on Thursday said that it cannot “pick and choose” the terrorist groups it goes after and that it needs to target militants who try to harm its neighbours, taking refuge on its territory.
The US also rejected 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's remarks that America and India have joined hands against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The comments came from Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner during his daily press briefing while responding to a question on Saeed's remarks in the wake of India asking Pakistan to hand him over or do something about these attacks.
"... I would dismiss it (Saeed's comments) outright.
"We have a strong bilateral relationship with Pakistan, but one that is premised on counterterrorism cooperation and as - as part of that conversation, or that dialogue and that cooperation that we have on counterterrorism issues, we made it very clear that Pakistan can't pick and choose which terrorist groups it goes after and it has to go after those groups that seek to do harm to its neighbours and may seek refuge on Pakistani soil," he said.
The US earlier said it is in constant "conversation" with the Pakistani leadership on the threats posed by terror organisations like the Haqqani network and LeT operating in the region.
The dreaded Haqqani network, which is blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people, has also carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and other civilian targets.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had refused to give the necessary Congressional certification to Pakistan and had blocked military aid worth USD 300 million to Islamabad for not taking sufficient action against the Haqqani network.
(With PTI inputs)