Pakistan says will destroy Haqqani network if US gives proof

Islamabad: Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif has said that Islamabad will work with Washington to destroy the Haqqani network if US can provide evidence about the presence of safe havens of the dreaded terror outfit in the country. The statement comes as the US continues to suspect Pakistan’s fight against terrorists.

US President Donald Trump, while unveiling his strategy for Afghanistan in August, pilloried Pakistan for harbouring “agents of chaos” and the “very enemy US forces have been fighting in Afghanistan” for the past 17 years. US and Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of sheltering the Haqqani network — the deadliest of all the Afghan Taliban factions.

In an interview with a Pakistani TV channel, Mr Asif said: “We have offered American authorities to visit Pakistan with evidence of Haqqani network’s safe havens in the country. If they find any activity (of Haqqanis) in the targeted areas, our troops along with the US would destroy them once and for all.” 

The foreign minister, who recently toured Washington and met top Trump administration officials, went on to say that army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had made the same offer to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during his Kabul visit earlier this month.

Referring to unsavoury criticism from the US, Mr Asif said: “If the Trump administration exerts more pressure on us, friendly countries, especially China, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, will stand by our side,” adding: “If the US secretary of state and secretary of defence are coming to dictate to us, we will refuse to accept their dictates.” 

President Trump is set to dispatch Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis to Pakistan in the coming weeks.

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