US pressing Pakistan to take increased action against LeT, other terror groups

April 16th, 2011 - 4:42 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Washington, April 16(ANI): Pakistan is still being used as a base for terrorist organisations operating in the Af-Pak region, and the United States continues to press the Asian nation for increased action against Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT) and other terrorist groups that undermine the security of the region and beyond, a top US counter-terrorism official has said.

“Pakistan, particularly the Federally Administered Tribal Areas region and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, continues to be used as a base for terrorist organizations operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Pakistani security forces have undertaken efforts to counter these threats,” Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism Office in the US State Department, said in his testimony before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation, and Trade of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

He said that while Pakistan has made progress on the counterterrorism front, specifically against the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the challenge remains to make these gains durable and sustainable.

“To this end, Pakistan must sustain its efforts to deny al Qaida (AQ) safe haven in the tribal areas of western Pakistan. We continue to press Pakistan for increased action against Lashkar-e Tayyiba and terrorist groups that undermine the security of Pakistan, the region, and beyond,” he added.

Benjamin also pointed out that although al Qaida’s core has become weaker, it “retains the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks.”

In addition, the al Qaida affiliates have grown stronger, he said, adding: “Indeed, over the last two years we’ve seen the AQ threat become more distributed and geographically diversified - in Yemen, East Africa, and the Sahel, for example.”

Benjamin said that while al Qaida and its affiliates remain the highest priority for the US in its diplomatic engagement on terrorism-related issues, Hamas and Hizballah “remain a major focus as well. Both are capable and dangerous terrorist organizations that continue to play destabilizing roles in the Middle East.”

Talking about developing a new multilateral counterterrorism initiative and a vigorous diplomatic engagement, Benjamin pointed out that the US has formal bilateral counterterrorism consultations with numerous countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Egypt, Japan, Pakistan, Algeria, Russia, and India.

“These consultations have strengthened our counterterrorism partnerships so we can complement one another’s efforts in pursuit of a comprehensive approach to our common challenges,” he added. (ANI)

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