‘US doesn’t want Pakistani territory used for perpetuating terror’

December 19th, 2008 - 11:20 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 19 (IANS) The US has said that it wants to ensure that Pakistani territory is not used to conduct terrorist attacks and terror groups don’t go in and out of Pakistan to perpetuate terrorism in the region.”We don’t want to see Pakistani territory used to conduct terrorist attacks,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said in Beijing last week after talks with Chinese officials in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

“We don’t want to see (terror) groups being able to go in and out of Pakistan and go elsewhere to perpetuate terrorism in the region,” he said, according to a transcript released here Thursday by the State Department.

China and the US have very similar goals, but it was for Beijing to say how they would use their influence over Pakistan, Boucher said after talks with Chinese officials focusing on Pakistan, India and Afghanistan after the Nov 26 Mumbai carnage that claimed over 170 lives.

Noting that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had visited India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks, he said: “We wanted to make sure that in addition to talking to the countries of the region we were talking to a lot of friends and other players who have interests and influence in this region.”

“In terms of the Chinese and how they use their influence, it’s really something I have to leave to China to explain, discuss. What I found in my consultations today is we have very similar goals,” he said when asked how China was exercising its leverage over Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks.

“We want to support Pakistan’s own capability to deal with those situations. So I think China and the United States in that regard have very similar goals. But how they carry that out and achieve it, I think I have to leave to them to explain,” Boucher said.

But the first thing was to deal with the immediate situation to find out what else the terrorists had planned and ensure that other threats, other dangers, other terrorists can be stopped and the capability of terror groups to launch attacks from Pakistani soil eliminated.

“The first thing you have to do is you have to deal with the immediate situation,” Boucher said. “Who did this? Who backed them? How did they get organised? Cut all that off. But you also have to find out who else was trained and what else they might have planned.”

“So I think we want to keep working with Pakistan and make sure that other threats, other dangers, other terrorists can be stopped, as well as the people who are immediately involved in this event,” he said.

“That’s why I think it’s important to see that they have picked up some of the leaders of the organisation,” Boucher said. “I think it’s going to be important to see that they push through that to the end in terms of eliminating the capability of the organization to launch attacks from Pakistani soil.”

Describing recent actions by Pakistan against militants as “good” and “promising steps” that he hoped would be followed up, the US official said: “I think they understand, as we do, that extremists, violent extremist groups, are a threat to Pakistan, a threat to the neighbourhood.”

“And as we saw in Mumbai, a threat to Americans and Indians and people of many other nationalities,” he added. “These are good steps. We hope they get followed up.”

Boucher said cancellation of a planned trip to Nepal had noting do with China. He could not go to Nepal because he accompanied Rice on her “fairly important” visit to India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks.

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