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WASHINGTON: While encouraging members of the BRICS alliance to continue playing a constructive role in stabilising the world, the United States reminded Pakistan on Wednesday that it “must change its approach” to terrorism.

At a recent meeting leaders of members of the alliance — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — called for an immediate end to violence in Afghanistan.

For the first time, BRICS termed militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan a regional security concern and called for their patrons to be held to account.

“We encourage the BRICS Forum to contribute constructively to global governance and stability,” said a spokesperson for the US State Department when asked to comment on the BRICS statement.

The US official also welcomed BRICS’ condemnation of North Korea’s recent nuclear test and then reminded Pakistan of the need to fight all militant groups operating in the South Asian region, including those that Washington claims are based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

“As the (Trump) administration has said, Pakistan must change its approach. We look to the Pakistani government to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region,” the State Department added.

The groups mentioned in the BRICS statement included the Afghan Tali­ban, militant Islamic State group, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Teh­reek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Hizbut Tahrir.

Some of them are based in Afghanistan and use their bases for launching attacks into Pakistan. On Dec 16, 2014, one of them — TTP — raided a school in Peshawar and killed 141 people, including 132 children.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2017