Pakistan on Thursday dismissed claims that there organised terrorist groups in the country and called upon Afghanistan and the United States' Resolute Support Mission to 'do more' to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan, RadioPakistan reported.

The statement comes days after a Pentagon official said that if Pakistan wanted to keep militants within its borders, it could do so, as long as they did not disrupt peace and stability in Afghanistan. "That’s something within Pakistan, that’s something the nation of Pakistan has got to resolve. Now we’re going to stay focused on Afghanistan," Lt Col Mike Andrews had said.

The official had also said that American troops have no authority to cross the border into Pakistan, and that doing so was not a part of day-to-day operational rules of engagement for US commanders in Afghanistan.

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Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, during a weekly press briefing, expressed satisfaction that the US had addressed the issue of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan sanctuaries in Afghanistan ─ a matter, he said, Islamabad had highlighted repeatedly. However, he added, more needs to be done.

The FO spokesperson categorically stated that there is no organised presence of terrorist groups in Pakistan, and that Pakistan has been carrying out intelligence-based operations to eliminate the remaining elements. He reiterated that Islamabad had also asked the US government to share actionable intelligence regarding terrorist activities on Pakistani soil, and had vowed to take action against such information.

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Dr Faisal said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had extended an invitation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi which is currently under consideration.

Referring to PM Abbasi's US visit, during which he met Vice President Mike Pence, Dr Faisal said that the two had discussed bilateral relations, the regional situation, and Afghanistan as part of regular interaction between the two countries.

"These conversations are important to build trust and cooperation, and to strengthen bilateral relations," he stressed.

He added that Pakistan strongly condemns yesterday's reprehensible suicide attack close to Ali Abad hospital and Kabul University and extended its deepest sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and people of Afghanistan.



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