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Punish 26/11 attackers to convince India: US to Pak

As leaks by a whistle-blower site laid bare past links between the Pakistani spy agency ISI and terror outfits, the United States asked Islamabad to punish those behind 26/11 Mumbai attacks to convince India it has changed.

world Updated: Jul 27, 2010 09:40 IST

As leaks by a whistle-blower site laid bare past links between the Pakistani spy agency ISI and terror outfits, the United States asked Islamabad to punish those behind 26/11 Mumbai attacks to convince India it has changed.

"Combating terrorism is an element of our relationship with India; likewise with Pakistan; likewise with Afghanistan," State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley told reporters on Monday.

"We believe strongly that the proof is in what people do, not what people say," he said when asked to comment on India's charge that Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, still backed terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let), Taliban and Al Qaeda.

"And as we've highlighted here, the fact that Pakistan is taking aggressive action against insurgents within its own borders reflects their understanding that now insurgents threaten Pakistan as itself," he said suggesting WikiLeaks revelations presented only snapshots of the past.

"Likewise, from the standpoint of India, India clearly wants to see that Pakistan is taking steps to bring to justice those people that threaten neighbouring states," Crowley said.

"So clearly as we've said many, many times if Pakistan wants to convince India that it has made this kind of fundamental change bringing to justice those who are responsible for the Mumbai attack would be a very, very constructive and important step," he said.

Asked if Pakistan had given the US any confirmation that it is taking any action against people who launched this Mumbai attack, Crowley said the US "continue to have conversations with Pakistan on bringing to justice those responsible for the Mumbai attack."

Even as official Washington took umbrage at the leaks branding them illegal and irresponsible, both the White House and the State Department acknowledged that they shared India's concerns about the links between ISI and the extremist elements reconfirmed by the leaks.

The US, Crowley said, had given a "heads up" to India, besides Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the leak of more than 92,000 secret US military documents pertaining to the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

Joining the White House and the defence department in condemning "the disclosure of classified information", he said "the fact that these are, in many cases, documents that are several years old does not change our concern that this action risks our national security."

The US, Crowley said, "continue to work in partnership with Afghanistan and Pakistan to deny Al Qaida any safe haven and to defeat terrorists and insurgents who threaten each of our countries, the region, and beyond.

After an intensive three-month review, he said the US had committed additional resources to help "increase the capacity of both the Afghan and Pakistan Governments to confront violent extremism and gain the trust and confidence of their respective populations."

"In doing so, we have worked hard to fundamentally change our relationship with Afghanistan and Pakistan," Crowley said. "Both countries have made progress and both countries have acknowledged that more needs to be done."