• Sun. Mar 5th, 2023

US expresses readiness to help Pakistan in tackling TTP threats

US State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC. — AFP/ file

WASHINGTON: The United States has offered its help to Pakistan in tackling the threats posed by terrorists as the country witnesses a rise in terror incidents following an end of the ceasefire by outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing that his country “stands ready to assist” Pakistan on taking on the challenge of terrorism. The statement came in response to a question regarding terrorism and the hostage situation at a counterterrorism centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bannu city.

“Well, first on the ongoing situation in Pakistan, we are of course aware. We’ve been closely following reports that militants have seized control of the counterterrorism centre in Bannu. We offer our deepest sympathies to those injured,” Price said and urged those responsible for the attack to cease all acts of violence, to safely release those who remain hostage, and end the seizure of the counterterrorism centre.

The spokesperson said that Islamabad is a partner when it comes to these shared challenges, including the challenge of terrorist groups — terrorist groups inside of Afghanistan, and terrorist groups along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

“We have partnered with our Pakistani friends to take on — to help them take on this challenge. We stand ready to assist, whether with this unfolding situation or more broadly. But this is a situation for which we’d have to refer you to Pakistani authorities.”

Modi ‘butcher of Gujrat’

The State Department was also asked to comment on the treatment of minorities in India under the Bharatia Janata Party (BJP), the “butcher of Gujrat” remarks by Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto and growing New Delhi-Moscow ties despite the Ukraine war.

Ned Price said: “We have a global strategic partnership with India. I have just spoken to the depth of our partnership with Pakistan. These relationships stand on their own; it is not zero-sum. We see the importance — the indispensability really — of maintaining valuable partnerships with both our Indian and our Pakistani friends. Each of these relationships is — we don’t view them in relation to the other. Each of these relationships also happens to be multifaceted.”

“So even as we deepen our global strategic partnership with India, we are also — we also have a relationship in which we can be candid and frank with one another. Where we have disagreements or concerns, we voice those just as we would with our Pakistani friends as well,” he further said.

“The fact that we have partnerships with both countries makes us – of course leaves us not wanting to see a war of words between India and Pakistan. We would like to see constructive dialogue between India and Pakistan. We think that is for the betterment of the Pakistani people, for the Indian people. There is much work that we can do together bilaterally. There are differences that, of course, need to be addressed between India and Pakistan. The United States stands ready to assist as a partner to both.”

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