US offers to help Pakistan deal with terrorism

Published October 3, 2023
In this file photo, Matthew Miller, the State Department’s spokesperson, addresses a press briefing on June 16.— US State Dept website
In this file photo, Matthew Miller, the State Department’s spokesperson, addresses a press briefing on June 16.— US State Dept website

WASHINGTON / ISLAMABAD: The United States on Monday offered to work with Pakistan on strategies that can better assist the country’s efforts to counter all forms of violent extremism.

Asked to comment on recent terrorist attacks that killed scores of people across Pakistan, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller noted that both countries have continued to face various acts of terrorism, targeting innocent civilians.

Extending “deepest sympathies” for those killed and injured in those attacks, the US official noted that Pakistanis had suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks.

“They deserve to practice their faith without fear. We, of course, offer condolences to families who lost loved ones and a speedy recovery to who are injured,” he added.

Data shows civilian deaths in terror attacks rose 87pc in Sept

Asked how the US could help Pakistan deal with this threat, Mr Miller said: “We cooperate with Pakistan in a range of multilateral fora on issues including terrorist designations and global strategies to defeat terrorist groups.”

He pointed out that earlier this year, the United States and Pakistan held a high-level counter-terrorism dialogue to discuss shared terrorist threats facing the two countries.

During these talks, the two sides discussed various strategies to cooperate in areas such as border security and terrorist financing.

“And we will continue to work with Pakistan to ensure that we can better assist Pakistan’s efforts to counter all forms of violent extremism,” he added.

Civilian deaths rose 87pc in Sept

Separately, according to data released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, the number of civilian casualties in militant attacks almost doubled in September, as compared to the preceding month, despite 34 per cent fewer incidents.

In 65 reported militant attacks in September, 136 civilians, military and law enforcement agencies personnel lost their lives, while 144 were injured.

The civilian death toll stood at 84, up by 87pc from 45 who had met a similar fate in August.

The number of attacks declined by 34pc as compared to 99 in August. Despite a considerable decline in attacks, September was still the worst month in terms of number of incidents since March 2015.

At the provincial level, mainland Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — excluding areas of erstwhile Fata — saw 23 attacks, resulting in 34 deaths and 73 injuries.

In the tribal districts, 17 attacks were reported, causing 19 deaths and 18 injuries. The data showed 20 reported attacks in Balochistan with 77 casualties and 46 injuries, while Sindh reported four militant attacks, which resulted in five deaths and two injuries.

There was also a lone attack in Azad Kashmir — the assassination of an activist who was formerly associated with the proscribed Jamaatud Dawa in Rawalakot town on September 8.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2023

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