Pakistan must act against Mumbai attackers: US

July 23rd, 2010 - 10:38 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 23 (IANS) The United States has listed investigation and bringing to justice those responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack among the must do things for Pakistan in the fight against terror.

“There are things, clearly, that Pakistan must do,” State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley told reporters Thursday when asked if recent statements by US officials that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is as dangerous as Al Qaeda reflected a new get tough with Pakistan policy.

“And certainly, continuing to investigate and bring to justice those who are responsible for the Mumbai attack is an important element,” he said. “It’s important to Pakistan. It’s also important to India.”

“And we will continue our conversations with Pakistan on the things that it needs to do not only for the benefit of Pakistan but the region as a whole,” Crowley said.

But he suggested that statements equating the threats from LeT, blamed for the 26/11 attacks, and Al Qaeda and another Mumbai attack could provoke a war in the region, did not reflect a change in US policy to make Pakistan act against these terror groups.

“We have a US policy,” he said. “It is to fully cooperate with Pakistan on terrorism and to continue to work closely to help Pakistan battle the insurgency that now is a threat to Pakistan itself.”

“We’ve seen significant progress by Pakistan over the past year,” Crowley said noting, “It’s an area that was a part of the Strategic Dialogue that our governments just had in Islamabad.”

“We’ll continue to work on this,” Crowley said.

He said the sanctions imposed Friday by the Treasury Department against three key leaders and financiers of the Haqqani network were not in lieu of State Department action against the Pakistan-based group.

“No, it’s not in lieu of that,” Crowley said. The US, he said, was looking at whether to designate the group as a foreign terrorist organisation as mentioned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her trip to Pakistan this week.

“And that is a lengthy process and we’re looking to see if it meets the legal criteria that’s outlined in US law.”

The new top US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, and the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin have both urged putting the Haqqani network on State Department’s the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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