WASHINGTON: Following Islamabad’s strong protest over killing of 13 Pakistani troops in cross-border militant attacks in Dir area, the United States on Tuesday urged increased cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan within the trilateral group involving NATO to deal with terrorist issues.
The State Department acknowledged that there are frustrations on both sides of the border over militant activities and called for respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity in addressing cross-border terrorism.
“Our pitch will be again for increased cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan on these terrorists issues, working together in the core group in a trilateral way NATO/ISAF, Pakistan and Afghanistan to try to deal with terrorism on both sides of the border,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. “It speaks to why we want to get back on track in our own counter-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan,” she added.
The spokesperson was asked about Pakistan’s lodging a strong protest that the NATO and Afghan forces were not taking any action against the safe havens on the Afghan side, which the militants use for attacking Pakistani border areas.
Pakistani officials said about 100 militants from across the Afghan border entered Dir and clashed with Pakistani security force petrol. The militants also targeted two security check posts near Pakistan-Afghan border in Barawal, Upper Dir district.
Asked if Washington would support Pakistani troops crossing over the Afghan border to attack the militant safe havens, the spokesperson said: “Again, both sides need to respect sovereignty, territorial integrity but they need to work together in how they are each going to deal with problems on their own side of the border. I think there are frustrations on both sides.”