NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State John Kerry said Pakistan had made progress in the fight against extremism in recent months, but urged Islamabad to push harder against militants hiding within its borders as tensions with neighbouring India rise amid more violence in the disputed region of Kashmir.
“It is clear that Pakistan has work to do in order to push harder against its indigenous groups that are engaged in extremist activities,” Kerry said on Wednesday, the second day of a visit to India.
Kerry said the United States had made it clear to Islamabad that it needs to act against groups such as the Taliban-linked Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba that are suspected of operating from Pakistan to launch attacks against its neighbours India and Afghanistan.
“In fairness, the Pakistanis have suffered greatly from terrorism in their own country,” Kerry said. “All of us need to be supportive and also understanding of how difficult it is to take it on step by step.”
Without elaborating, he added: “I believe that in the last months progress is being made and the Pakistanis are moving at a greater pace.”
The United States accuses Pakistan of not doing enough against the Haqqani militants. Pakistan denies this.
The Pakistan Army launched military operations in 2014 in the troubled North Waziristan region, which is said to be the base of the Haqqani group.
Kerry said on Tuesday that Islamabad should not feel isolated by fresh talks that are planned between the United States, India and Afghanistan next month in New York. The last time such trilateral talks were held was in 2013.
“My hope is that Pakistan as a country is not isolated by this but is encouraged by this,” Kerry said. He said had spoken to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about the need for his country to deprive any group of “sanctuary”.
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