US prepared to boost security efforts to help Pakistan: Kerry

KerryISLAMABAD: The United States is set to boost its security and intelligence cooperation with Pakistan to step up its offensive against militants, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

“I emphasised that the US is committed to deepening our security relationship with Pakistan in order to eliminate threats in the border area and elsewhere,” Kerry told reporters.

He was addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan’s national security advisor Sartaj Aziz as the two countries held strategic talks on the direction of future ties.

In the wake of last month’s Taliban attack on a Peshawar school which killed 150 people, mostly children, Pakistan has moved against militant groups sheltering in its unruly tribal areas.

“The tragedy of December 16 is really a reminder of the serious risk of allowing extremists to find space, and be able to command that space and operate within it,” Kerry said.

He said all militant groups such as the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba “continue to pose a threat not just to Pakistan and its neighbours but also to the United States and the world.”

“Make no mistake the task is a difficult one and it is not done,” Kerry said.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure that these extremists are no longer able to secure a foothold in this country or elsewhere.”

Pakistani officials have said that Kerry plans to visit Peshawar in a huge show of support for the people there.

But there has been no State Department confirmation of Kerry’s trip to the insurgency-wracked city, which would be the first by a high-ranking American official since Speaker John Boehner went in 2011.

Deeply Concerned

Kerry said that he was deeply concerned by recent violence on the border dividing the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, and called on India and Pakistan to find a diplomatic solution.

“We continue to be deeply concerned by the recent spate of increased violence along the working boundary and the line of control,” Kerry said, referring to a ceasefire line that has become the de facto border dividing Kashmir.

“It is profoundly in the interests of Pakistan and India to move this relationship forward,” he said.- Agencies

About the Author