WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday emphasised that while Pakistan is headed in the right direction, “a lot more needs to be done” with regard to wiping out terrorism from South Asia.
Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the US State Department, was responding to a question on the “progress update on that relationship” — of US-Pakistan — while addressing the weekly press briefing.
She said: “We’ve certainly seen Pakistan take some positive steps in the right direction, but a lot more needs to be done, in terms of Pakistan cracking down not just on the Taliban, but the Haqqani Network and other terror networks as well”.
Nauert explained that the nation needs to “do more” — a call that the US has made multiple times over the past few months — in order to take on and eliminate the banned terrorist outfits, while, alongside, play a more active role in the Afghan peace process.
The spokesperson highlighted Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s Saturday meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence wherein the two leaders held talks on US-Pakistan relations as well as the ongoing regional situation.
Pence and Abbasi had “talked about the overall South Asia strategy, the administration’s South Asia strategy, and that’s one of the things that the Vice President addressed with him”, she said.
“He said the Government of Pakistan has to do more to address the continued presence of terrorism in Pakistan.
“There’s a lot more that they can do, but they can also play a critical role in the – with the Taliban, in getting the Taliban to come to the table in Pakistan.”
During his meeting, the premier had apprised the VP of Islamabad’s sacrifices and successes in the fight against terrorism, according to sources.
Abbasi had then termed the meeting positive considering US President Donald Trump’s tough stance against Pakistan.
“One of the things that the President has called for in his South Asia strategy is for Pakistan to take on greater responsibility for cracking down on terror groups,” Nauert added.
She noted that Washington looks forward to Islamabad’s assistance in Afghan peace talks and a greater role in stabilising the South Asian region.