WASHINGTON: The US State Depart­ment has publicly acknowledged that after last week’s massive car bombing in Kabul it asked Pakistan to take concrete action against the Haqqani network.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack outside a building of the National Directorate for Security in Kabul on Tuesday that killed 64 people and injured more than 300 others.

Pakistan had condemned the attack hours after it took place.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to those who have lost their loved ones and pray for early recovery of the injured,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Islamabad condemned Kabul attack hours after it took place

Commenting on Afghan government’s claim that Pakistan supported the group that carried out the attack, the director of the State Department’s Press Office, Elizabeth Trudeau, suggested on Friday evening that Islamabad continued to allow terrorists to use its soil.

“We have consistently expressed our concerns at the highest level of the government of Pakistan about their continued tolerance for Afghan Taliban groups such as the Haqqani network operating from Pakistani soil,” she told a news briefing in Washington.

“And we did again — after this week’s attack, we have pressed the government of Pakistan to follow up on its expressed commitment not to discriminate between terror groups regardless of their agenda or their affiliation by undertaking concrete action against the Haqqanis,” she added.

Within hours of the attack, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vowed “vengeance for each drop of blood spilled”, while his chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, cancelled a May 2 visit to Pakistan, citing the findings of a preliminary investigation.

On Friday, the Voice of America radio quoted Afghanistan’s deputy presidential spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal as claiming that Pakistan supported and armed the Haqqani network that carried out the attack.

“Attacks such as this clearly undermine US, Afghan and Pakistani efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” Ms Trudeau said.

The US official, however, disagreed with a journalist who suggested that the United States allowed Pakistan to continue supporting the militants by avoiding criticising its policies publicly.

Ms Trudeau said that Pakistan had reiterated that it would not discriminate between terrorist groups “and we continue to call on them to live up to that commitment”.

When asked if “words match Pakistan’s actions”, the official said: “I think words matter and we continue to encourage them to have their actions match those words.”

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2016



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