Describing Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt as a terrorist safe haven, a top United States’ counter- terrorism official has said the Obama administration continues to press Islamabad for “increased action” against militant groups like LeT, which is responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
“While Pakistan has made progress on the counter-terrorism front, specifically against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the challenge remains to make these gains durable and sustainable,” Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counter— terrorism Office in State Department said in his testimony before a Congressional Committee.
Mr. Benjamin said Pakistan must sustain its efforts to deny al-Qaeda safe haven in the tribal areas of its western territory.
He also said the U.S. continues to ask Pakistan to take action against LeT. “We continue to press Pakistan for increased action against Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist groups.”
On al-Qaeda, he said that though the terror network’s “core has become weaker, it retains the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks.”
In addition, he said, its “affiliates have grown stronger.”
Mr. Benjamin said Pakistan, particularly its Federally Administered Tribal Area and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest, continues to be used as a base for terrorist organisations operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan.