On the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement at the G-20 summit that Pakistan is spreading terror, the US has said it wants to see “accountability and justice” in the case of Mumbai terror attacks which was carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist but ruled out sanctions against Islamabad .
“We’ve been very clear that we want to see accountability and justice in the case of the Mumbai attacks,” the US state department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters on Tuesday.
“There were American citizens who lost their lives in those terrible attacks. We’ve long encouraged and pushed for greater counter-terrorism cooperation, and that includes the sharing of intelligence between India and Pakistan in that regard,” Toner said in response to a question.
While dismissing sanctions against Pakistan for not taking actions against terrorist groups, Toner asserted that Islamabad must target all militant groups, including those that target its neighbours
“Suggestive of any kind of sanctions, we’re not there,” Toner said.
He was responding to a query on a recent statement by the former US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad that Washington now needs to seriously consider the option of imposing sanctions against Pakistan.
“I don’t think we’re even at that point,” Toner said.
“I mean, we continue to have, conversations with the highest level of the government of Pakistan and our basic point in all these conversations is that Pakistan must target all militant groups, including those that target Pakistan’s neighbours and eliminate all safe havens and that is what I was trying to convey to you as well,” he said.
Referring to the remarks made by the US secretary of state John Kerry during his recent trip to India and Bangladesh, Toner said the US has had very frank conversations with Pakistan’s political and military leadership about the need to focus more efforts on those terrorist groups, all the terrorist groups rather, that are operating from within Pakistani territory.
“We continue to have that discussion with them. We have seen some efforts to make progress in that regard. We’re going to continue to have those conversations with them as we move forward and it is in Pakistan’s interest, it’s in Afghanistan’s interest to go after these terrorist groups, to route them out and to destroy them,” he said.
“The ultimate goal is we want to see peace and stability in the region, and so that is going involve efforts on Pakistan’s part as well as the ability of Afghanistan and the Afghan government to provide the stability and security to its own people. And that is our efforts we are focused on,” Toner said.