Pakistan

Pakistan key counterterrorism partner, says US report

WASHINGTON: Acknowledging Pakistan’s effort in fighting against terror in the region, the US State Department has said that despite flaws in Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy, it ‘remained a critical counterterrorism partner in 2015’.

An annual US State Department report, released on Thursday said, during the last year, Pakistan operated many de-radicalisation camps in parts of the country that offered ‘corrective training, counselling and religious education’.

“Pakistan is a key counterterrorism partner and we have an ongoing conversation with the Pakistani Government of the need to address militant activities in Pakistan and will remain a key partner in confronting terrorism in the South Asia region,” said the US State Department spokesman Mark Toner during a special briefing on the report.

The State Department also appreciated that Pakistan’s National Action Plan (NAP) worked well in 2015 against terrorism.

The plan, aiming to prevent terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s soil, seeks to punish terrorists, eliminate their support system, and promote the non-violent coexistence of various sects, said the report.

“Also throughout 2015, the Pakistani military continued ground and air operations in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency to eliminate terrorist safe havens and recover illegal weapons caches,” said the US State Department report.

Toner said, “2014 was a particularly violent year in Pakistan, I think as we know from attacks in the schools and et cetera. And the Pakistani Government undertook a robust response against a number of the militant groups and throughout that end of 2014 into 2015.”

The State Department, however, noted that ‘Pakistan did not take significant action’ against the Afghan Taliban or the Haqqani network in 2015 and did little to put off home-grown groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

It said Pakistan did not limit fundraising activities of the US-and UN-designated banned organisations such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FiF), apart from banning their media coverage.

The US did not fail to note in the report that the UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed – the chief of LeT/JuD/FiF – also managed to make regular public appearances in support of his organisations’ objectives.

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