US vice president tells Pakistan to do more to combat terrorismworld Updated: Mar 18, 2018 23:29 IST
US vice president Mike Pence in Savannah, Georgia.(AP)
US vice president Mike Pence has told Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that Islamabad must to do more to “address the continued presence” of the Taliban, the Haqqani Network and other terror groups on its soil.
Pence delivered this blunt message in a meeting with Abbasi in Washington on Friday. Abbasi, who was on a personal trip to see his ailing sister in the US, met Pence at the US Naval Observatory, the vice president’s official residence. The meeting was held at the request of Abbasi.
In the meeting, Pence “reiterated President (Donald) Trump’s request that the Government of Pakistan must do more to address the continued presence of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups operating in their country”, the White House said in a statement.
“The vice president stated that US efforts to eliminate terrorist groups who threaten US security and the stability of the region will continue and noted that Pakistan could and should work closer with the US,” the White House said.
For his part, Abbasi apprised Pence of Pakistan’s “sacrifices and successes” in the fight against terrorism and believed his meeting with the vice president was “positive”, according to a report by Geo TV.
He also met other US officials and Congressman Ted Yoho, who heads the House foreign relations subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
South Asia observers have noted that Pence sought action by Pakistan against all terrorists operating from safe havens on its territory and not just the Taliban and its affiliate the Haqqani Network.
Pence’s meeting with Abbasi took place on the same day that a senior administration official told reporters that Trump was not “satisfied” with the “bare minimum” action taken by Pakistan against terrorism.
“We are still seeking actions from Pakistan that we have not seen. We are continuing to look for real actions and not word on the Taliban and the Haqqani sanctuaries,” the official had told reporters at a background briefing on South Asia.
The Trump administration has repeatedly stated that Pakistan must take action against all terrorists, the official had said, including those targeting India such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The official said: “The president has made it clear that he is not satisfied with the action taken by Pakistan... We have communicated clearly to Pakistan to what we mean by decisive action.
“When provided very specific information, they have responded. But we have not seen them taking pro-active actions against terrorist groups which they are capable of.”
(With inputs from Agencies)