WASHINGTON: The United States has said Pakistanis have been a big victim of terrorism, as the State Department underscored the importance of support for the country in combating terrorists.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland spoke about United States’ strong counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan, which over the last decade has suffered grievously from retaliatory terrorist bombings.
The spokesperson emphasised the strong bilateral cooperation against terrorism in response to a question.
“I think you know how hard we work in our bilateral relationship with Pakistan to maintain a strong focus and a strong effort on terrorism there and to offer our support to Pakistani efforts”, Nuland told an Indian journalist who wanted to know if the US had thought of taking the issue of tackling terrorism in tribal areas to the United Nations or address it bilaterally with Pakistan.
The State Department comments came as Washington observed the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, which triggered US invasion of Afghanistan, the place of refuge for perpetrator organisation al Qaeda.
Many al Qaeda-linked terrorists escaped US military action and taking advantage of porous border moved into Pakistani tribal areas in late 2001. Since then, Pakistan has been battling them and the Pakistani Taliban in a high-stakes campaign.
At the State Department briefing, Nuland reminded that Pakistan has been a victim of terror and made the case for cooperative efforts.
“Pakistanis have been victims of terrorism- some 30,000 in the last few years”, Nuland noted. “So in the context of having reopened the ground lines of communication, we are back in the business of trying to intensify our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan”.
For instance, she said, some of the working groups that the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set up a year ago in October, November when she was in Pakistan, that work that got suspended, is coming back on line.
“We’re going to have a couple of those groups meeting, in fact, even this week”, she added. “So we will continue to make the case, we will continue to offer our support, because we agree with you there is more work to do to counter terrorism inside Pakistan”.