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US asks Pak to widen crackdown on terror

world Updated: Dec 12, 2008 13:33 IST
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The US has asked Pakistan to widen its ongoing crackdown on banned militant outfits to those linked with subversive activities in India including LeT and JeM, while assuring that it would work with New Delhi to defuse the tension generated by the Mumbai terror attacks.

This message was conveyed by visiting US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte during his meetings in Islamabad with Pakistan's top leadership, diplomatic sources told PTI.

The sources said Negroponte had brought with him a list of terror groups, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Al Rashid Trust, against whom the US wanted action to be taken.

The Dawn newspaper reported on Friday that Negroponte had shared the list with his Pakistani interlocutors. The list also contains names of lesser known groups like the Pasban Ahle-e-Hadith.

Negroponte told Pakistani leaders that if Pakistan and India "did not act sagaciously to contain the fallout from the Mumbai carnage, the peace of the whole region would be affected", the newspaper reported.

The US diplomat reportedly asked his interlocutors in Islamabad to continue action against the LeT and to expand the scope of the operations to other "groups that may be linked with subversive activities in India", the report said.

Sources told PTI that Negroponte assured the Pakistani leadership that the US would work with both countries to defuse the tensions generated by the Mumbai attacks and to prevent any military action as long as Pakistan continued taking action against banned terror groups.

Negroponte's assurance coincided with a statement by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in parliament that war with Pakistan was no solution.

The US is worried that any military confrontation would result in Pakistan moving its troops from the Afghan frontier to the border with India. Such a move would adversely impact the US campaign within Afghanistan.

Negroponte also took up the security of NATO supplies bound for Afghanistan through Pakistan in the wake of three major attacks by militants in Peshawar that destroyed over 220 container trucks and armoured vehicles and a large quantity of supplies, the sources said.

During their meetings with Negroponte, both President Asif Ali Zardari and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan had conveyed its willingness to cooperate with India in investigating the Mumbai attacks.

They also assured him that Pakistan would not allow anyone to use its territory for terrorism.

Zardari also said Pakistan had undertaken its own investigation and was taking "appropriate measures", an official statement said.

Negroponte "emphasised the need for continued focus in the war against terrorism to promote international and regional peace and stability".

In a separate meeting with Negroponte, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Pakistan had taken note of the designation of certain individuals and entities by the UN Security Council as terrorists and terror groups and would fulfil its "international obligations".

Negroponte arrived in Pakistan shortly after the UN Security Council ordered sanctions against four leaders of the LeT and declared the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, a front for the Lashker, a terrorist organisation.