US in talks with Pakistan over 'terrorist safe havens' along Afghan border: Pentagon

Published August 10, 2021
"We all have a shared sense of importance of closing down those [terrorist] safe havens along Pak-Afghan border and not allowing them to be used by the Taliban or other terrorist networks to sow discord," says John F. Kirby. — Photo courtesy: US Department of Defence website
"We all have a shared sense of importance of closing down those [terrorist] safe havens along Pak-Afghan border and not allowing them to be used by the Taliban or other terrorist networks to sow discord," says John F. Kirby. — Photo courtesy: US Department of Defence website

The Pentagon has said the alleged presence of “terrorist safe havens” along the Pak-Afghan border was causing instability inside Afghanistan and the United States was in talks with Pakistani leadership for “closing down” such sanctuaries.

Addressing reporters in Washington during a press briefing on Monday, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said "we all have a shared sense of importance of closing down those safe havens and not allowing them to be used by the Taliban or other terrorist networks to sow discord."

"We're also mindful that Pakistan and the Pakistani people also fall victim to terrorist activities that emanate from that same region,” he remarked.

He underlined that the US was helping Afghan forces in a myriad of other ways. "The Afghans have capacity; they have capability, they have a capable Air Force," he stressed.

The spokesperson was asked to provide substantiation of his statement on Afghan forces being equipped as six provincial capitals in Afghanistan had already been lost to the Taliban.

Kirby said: “I have the proof that they have a force of over 300,000 soldiers and police. They have a modern Air Force. They have modern weaponry; they have an organisational structure. They have a lot of advantages that the Taliban don't have. Taliban doesn't have an Air Force, Taliban doesn't own airspace…”

To another query about India’s role in Afghanistan, the Pentagon spokesperson remarked that India had played a “constructive role” in Afghanistan in the past in terms of “training and other infrastructure improvements”.

When asked about a prospective role for Pakistan and India in Afghanistan, the spokesperson said, “We want all neighbouring countries to not take actions that make the situation in Afghanistan more dangerous than it is already,” he underlined.

He urged Afghanistan’s neighbour countries to continue to try to use international pressure to get a negotiated peaceful political settlement to this war.

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