US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Highly placed sources have told Mail Today that the US warned Pakistan in no uncertain terms that the latter has to take action against terror groups.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Wednesday ahead of his bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
A senior official said that NSA Doval asked Tillerson for an assessment of Pakistan as he had just visited both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In his assessment, Tillerson told Doval that a ‘stern message’ was given to Pakistan.
According to the source, Tillerson told the Pakistani leadership, ‘act against terrorist groups, else we will do it.’
The sources added that in America’s assessment of the region, the ‘biggest’ problem was the ‘safe havens in Pakistan’.
This was conveyed to NSA Doval by Secretary Tillerson.
‘The US govt in its assessment said that safe havens in Pakistan is the real problem,’ the source said.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, shakes hand with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj
Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai in 2008 (pictured – Indian soldier)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Prime Minister’s residence in New Delhi
Answering a question on whether Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief Hafiz Saeed came up during discussions, senior officials said ‘no specific names came up’.
India has been urging the US to mount pressure on Pakistan to punish the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, where US nationals also died.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval
The 2008 Mumbai attacks 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organisation based in Pakistan, carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai.
Hafiz Saeed was the mastermind of the attack and despite efforts, all that Pakistan has done is put him under house arrest.
It remains to be seen if the threat by US of taking out terrorists would extend to the likes of Saeed, Zakiur- Rehman Lakhvi and others involved in the 2008 attack.
Both sides even highlighted the need to end cross-border terrorism and dismantle terror infrastructure in Pakistan during bilateral talks between the Secretary of State and Indian External Affairs Minister.
Hafiz Saeed was the mastermind of the 2008 attack on Mumbai
Mumbai burned after 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organisation based in Pakistan attacked
The first floor of the Taj Hotel was completely gutted
‘Too many terror groups find safe haven in Pakistan, and these are now threatening the stability of the country’s government.
‘We want to work with Pakistan in a positive way as we think this is in their interest in the longer term,’ Tillerson said at the media briefing held after the talks.
Swaraj added, ‘Recent attacks in Afghanistan are proof that supporters of terrorism are active. Pak needs to act on this.’
While Tillerson re-emphasised US President Donald Trump on the point that terrorist safe havens ‘will not be tolerated’, he added that these terror groups are ‘threatening stability of Pakistan government’, making a clear distinction on those within Pakistani state that support terrorists and the civilian dispensation that recently found itself on shaky grounds.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating the Diwali with the jawans of the Indian Army and BSF on the border with Pakistan
Working together: President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The distinction between Rawalpindi and Islamabad has been one of the biggest challenges for the US administration in bringing normalcy in the AfPak region, particularly in Afghanistan.
A senior official said that the US govt will be messaging in different ways, be it concerns regarding nuclear stability or stability of the civilian government in Pakistan; but, not mincing words like the previous governments in US and their half messaging, Trump administration is clear regarding its ‘terror policy’.
‘Terrorism emanating from Pakistan is the biggest problem’, is the current US assessment according to the source.