Pakistan rejects Panetta’s remarks on safe havens

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June 10, 2012

A spokesman for Pakistan's foreign ministry has rejected US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's claims that the South Asian nation is not doing enough to eliminate hiding places of insurgents. The spokesman called Panetta's remarks "misplaced and unhelpful"

June 10, 2012

A spokesman for Pakistan's foreign ministry has rejected US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's claims that the South Asian nation is not doing enough to eliminate hiding places of insurgents. The spokesman called Panetta's remarks "misplaced and unhelpful"

U.S. Secretary Of Defense Panetta Arrives In Kabul

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan yesterday branded US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks on insurgent safe havens in the country as “misplaced and unhelpful.”

Panetta warned Pakistan on Thursday that the US was running out of patience over Islamabad’s refusal to do more to eliminate hiding places for insurgents, who attack US troops fighting a 10-year war against the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Panetta made the comments after talks with Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak during an Asian tour that took him to Pakistan’s arch rival India, but not Islamabad in a sign of dire US-Pakistan relations.

“Pakistan strongly rejects the assertions made recently by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding ‘safe havens’ in Pakistan,” foreign ministry spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan said in a statement.

“We feel that the Secretary of Defense is oversimplifying some of the very complex issues we are all dealing with in our efforts against extremism and terrorism.” Panetta singled out the Haqqani network, a Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked faction that has bases in Pakistan’s lawless tribal district of North Waziristan and which has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks of the 10-year war in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has repeatedly said that it will not allow its territory to be used against any country, nor will it allow any safe havens on its territory,” the spokesman said.

He stressed that Pakistan was fighting terrorism and extremism in its own national interest and “nobody should doubt our resolve and determination in this regard.”

“Our sacrifices remain unparalleled and our resolve unshakable,” he said. “We strongly believe that such statements are misplaced and unhelpful in bringing about peace and stability in the region.”

Pakistan rejects Panetta’s remarks on safe havens

Blockade talks

US assistant defense secretary Peter Lavoy arrived in Islamabad in a fresh attempt to bring an end a six-month blockade on NATO supplies crossing into Afghanistan, officials said yesterday.

Lavoy’s visit comes days after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Pakistan that the United States was running out of patience over Islamabad’s refusal to do more to eliminate safe havens for insurgents.

“The US assistant defense secretary arrived here Friday to meet with a broad spectrum of people,” acting US embassy spokesman Robert Raines said.

“He will be discussing bilateral issues with the officials,” he said without elaborating on the agenda for the two-day visit.

A Pakistani government official said ahead of the trip that “talks will focus on re-opening the NATO supply route, ways to promote border coordination and settle the issue of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF).”

Pakistan-US relations hit a new low six months ago when US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border. Islamabad responded by imposing a blockade on NATO supplies crossing overland into Afghanistan.


Courtesy: arabnews