‘US to support Pak anti-terror efforts’
WASHINGTON: The United States has expressed the resolve to continue co-operative anti-terror efforts with the new Pakistani government, while the latter develops its own plans and policies to free the Tribal Areas of violent extremism.
The State Department also reaffirmed its co-operation for Pakistan’s multi-faceted programme of bringing socio-economic development to the Tribal Areas.
“We have heard from any number of officials in the new Pakistan government about the fact that the fight against extremism is not an American fight, it’s a joint fight with the US and Pakistan and the broader international community,” spokesman Tom Casey said, adding that they would continue to work with the new government while it developed its own policies and plans.
Responding to questions on counter-terrorism co-operation with Pakistan at a regular briefing, Casey cited Washington’s co-operation in socio-economic fields. He voiced the hope that economic development would serve as bulwark against extremism. He said the US had long-term development programmes for FATA, which were geared at “helping to give people opportunities, providing schools, providing basic healthcare, hopefully also providing some economic opportunity and some employment that will help keep people from or give people some options that would keep them or help them to not turn towards some extremist ideas”.
At the same time, Casey acknowledged that FATA has historically remained ungoverned, which he said added to the difficulty of challenges there. He also recognised Pakistan’s sovereignty over its territory and made it clear that the US would not try to determine FATA’s political future. According to Casey, the US wants a FATA free of extremist violence, free of Al Qaeda-inspired terrorism, and with the ability to develop and prosper. app