A number of terrorist groups are functioning with impunity in parts of Pakistan, the White House said on Saturday as it stated that the US values counter-terrorism cooperation with India.
Hours before US President Barack Obama’s departure to India, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed concern over the continued presence of terror safe havens in Pakistan even though the Pakistan Army has taken steps against them in recent months.
“For a long time, this administration has expressed concerns about some areas of Pakistan where extremists operate in virtual impunity and in many cases, use that safe haven to carry out attacks against American forces that are operating in Afghanistan. And that is something that we are concerned about and we have raised those concerns with our partners in Pakistan,” Earnest said.
He said that there have been recently additional steps that have been taken by the Pakistani government to try to root out the extremists that are operating in that area.
“But those are steps that are ultimately taken by the Pakistani government because they recognise that the extremist threat that exists in their country poses a significant threat to their citizens,” he said in response to a question.
“We spent a lot of time, and for good reason, talking about the terror attacks that were carried out in Paris a couple of weeks ago, but just a week or two before that, we saw an atrocious terrorist act carried out in Peshawar, Pakistan, where more than 100 schoolchildren were gunned down in their school by extremists in Pakistan,” he said.
“So it reflects what we have often said, which is that so many of these al Qaeda affiliates that are operating, when they carry out acts of terror, that there are far more victims of their acts of terror that are Muslim than are anybody else,” he added.
“The US values the counter-terrorism coordination relationship that we have with India. We certainly are interested in discussing with them ways that we can strengthen that relationship,” he said in response to a question.