Islamabad refutes US claim, says why would Taliban hide in Pakistan
Islamabad [Pakistan], August 28 : The Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Taliban had no need to hide in Pakistan, since they held more than 40 per cent of Afghanistan.This comes after the White House accused Pakistan of continuing to harbor terrorists on its soil.
The commander of the United States forces for Afghanistan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Resolute Support Mission General, John Nicholson has said that the US "knows the Afghan Taliban leadership is in Quetta and Peshawar".
Iqbal also mentioned that Taliban were using Afghanistan as the launch pad for their operations, both inside and outside Pakistan.
"If they have control over so much land and resources in Afghanistan, it means they have hideouts there, not in Pakistan," The Dawn quoted Iqbal, as saying.
He categorically said that Pakistani authorities had been conducting comprehensive security operations in different parts of the country for four years and had cleared a large area, including North Waziristan.
He further said that said Washington had stated that they would acknowledge the efforts of Pakistani forces if they managed to clear North Waziristan of terrorists.
"Pakistan is fully committed to rooting out terrorism and no other country can match us in terms of the number of sacrifices made in the war on terror," he added.
Separately, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said the US should refrain from blaming its 16 years of failures in Afghanistan on Pakistan.
Earlier, a source has said that Islamabad is trying to mount a diplomatic offensive to muster the support of friendly countries in the face of Trump's allegations that Pakistan was hosting terrorist 'safe havens' on its soil, the Express Tribune reported.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif will visit China, Russia and Turkey for consultations on the U.S.'s new South Asia strategy.
After consulting with three nations, Pakistan will be convening an international conference to highlight its contribution towards the war against terrorism and to adopt a new policy which will call a halt to Washington's unending demand to 'do more' on the issue.
However, Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria underscored that the differences between Pakistan and the U.S. over the new policy did not mean a rupture in ties.