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US to Pak: Can't pick and choose terrorists

world Updated: Sep 08, 2011 02:00 IST

The United States has told Pakistan in clear terms that it has to act against all militants operating inside its territory and Islamabad cannot 'pick and choose' among terror groups, defence secretary Leon Panetta said.

Terming terrorism as a threat to Pakistan as well as to the US, Panetta said that he had conveyed to Pakistan, its army and the Inter-Services Intelligence that "they can't pick and choose among terrorists".

Ahead of the observance of a decade of dreaded 9/11 al Qaeda attacks on the US, the new defence secretary also made it clear that Washington would go after high-value terrorists wherever they are inside Pakistan.

The remarks by Panetta assume significance in the wake of reports of Pakistan trying to tie down American hands by proposing an agreement for taking mutual consent before carrying out any operations against key terrorist on its soil.

Appearing on the popular Charlie Rose show, Panetta said he had conveyed this message in his meetings with the Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani; and the ISI Chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha.

"I have met with General Pasha a number of times and also with General Kayani a number of times and had made very clear to them that they can't pick and choose among terrorists, that terrorism is a threat to their country, is a threat to our country," Panetta said.

"I mean, they cannot …if you're against terrorism, you have to be against all forms of terrorism. You can't just pick and choose among them."