State Department Spokesperson Ned Price has reiterated President Joe Biden’s pledge of taking action “in a way that protects our interests” if the US sees “international terrorists regrouping in Afghanistan”.

The statement came on Wednesday in response to a question asked during a press briefing about the rise of violence in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s failure to not provide “safe havens” to terrorist groups — including the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and others.

Price said that the Afghan Taliban had been “either unable or unwilling to live up to the commitments that they’ve made in a number of areas” and that the US’ broader goal was to make sure that “terrorists and others aren’t able to use Afghanistan as a launch pad for attacks on Pakistan”.

He also mentioned the killing of the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri by a US strike in August to prove the US’ demonstration of its capabilities to act against terrorists.

Stating that the US values its “bilateral relationship” with Pakistan, Price said that the US is determined to work with its partners in the region, including Pakistan.

Responding to a question about the security cooperation between the two countries, the spokesperson recalled the grant assistance given through the International Military Education and Training program, which provides professional military education.

Catalyst for US reaction

The vow comes almost a week after Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul came under attack, for which the IS claimed responsibility.

Separately, Price also told Dawn on Wednesday, “We have seen the reports that IS-K has claimed responsibility for the attack.”

The attack had targeted Pakistan’s Chargé d’Affaires Ubaid Nizamani in Kabul — who remained safe — and severely injured an embassy guard, who shielded the diplomat.

It followed the TTP’s announcement last month to end its ceasefire agreement with the government of Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Washington had declared four TTP and South Asian Al Qaeda leaders as global terrorists and vowed to use its full might against all Afghanistan-based terror groups.

In an earlier statement, another US State Department official said the militants operating in Afghanistan were a common enemy and that the US and Pakistan “have a shared interest” in combating them.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, the IS-K is an offshoot of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant group, which itself was formed by disgruntled Al Qaeda activists.

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