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US still trying to convince Pak about its real threat: Pentagon

world Updated: Mar 28, 2010 11:26 IST

The Obama Administration is still trying to convince Pakistan that India is not a real threat to it and wants the country to go after terror groups like the Taliban's Haqqani network with which ISI has links, a top Pentagon official has said.

"... A big part of the (US) dialogue (with Pakistan) is trying to understand their threat perception, having them understand ours and helping to talk that through," Michele Flournoy, Under secretary of Defence, told the Charlie Rose Show when asked if the US has been able to convince Pakistan that they should think less about India and more about enemies within.

Identifying Pakistan as a "really important country for the United States," she said Islamabad still needs to go after those terrorist groups like Haqqani network that cross the border to Afghanistan and target US soldiers.

Flournoy said she also believes that the ISI still has connections with the Haqqani network of Taliban.

"I think doing more (by Pakistan) would include going after some of the groups that are coming across the border into Afghanistan and targeting our soldiers. Some of the groups that are less focussed on targeting Pakistan and more focussed on targeting us," she said.

Flournoy said the US is trying very hard to build a strategic partnership with Pakistan in the immediate term because they are a critical partner in the war against al-Qaeda and its allies.

She argued that South Asia is a critical region and it is very important to build up conditions for stability and reduction of tensions there. "Pakistan has got to be a critical partner in that equation."

Flournoy said people in Pakistan now feel very much under siege and there is very strong domestic political support to combat those violent extremists.

"So that has increased the Pakistani military's willingness to conduct operations, to try to clear out some of these safe havens, to work more closely with us, coordinating operations on both sides of the border and so forth.

"So I think that overreaching by the militants has actually created a groundswell of support for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency," she said.