Washington, Dec 9: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the Pakistani establishment has had historic ties with Lashkar-e-Toiba, although now it's committed to fighting them.
In an interview to CNN on Sunday, Dec 7 evening, Rice read out a charge-sheet against the Lashkar, spelling out the reasons for taking action against the group which, she said, was not only involved in the Mumbai attacks but also moved in "the same circles" as Al Qaeda.
"Well, there have been historic ties. There's no doubt about that," the Dawn quoted Rice as saying when asked if Lashkar leaders were trained and supported by Pakistani intelligence agencies.
But she quickly added that she believed Pakistan was no more involved with the group.
"Pakistan is a different place now with a civilian government and an army leadership that is working in concert to try to bring an end to extremism within Pakistan," she said.
"We have to remember that Pakistan itself has been suffering at the hands of extremism. So whatever the history here - and there is a history - the important thing is that Pakistan act against those who used Pakistani soil to perpetrate attacks," she added.
"I think there's no doubt that Pakistani territory was used by probably non-state actors. I don't think that there is compelling evidence of involvement of Pakistani officials. But I do think that Pakistan has a responsibility to act, and it doesn't matter that they're non-state actors. There were problems with this from Pakistani territory. There are historic problems from Pakistani territory in this regard," she said.
Secretary Rice also said that when she visited Islamabad last week she "emphasised to the Pakistani government" that Americans were also killed in this attack and the US government had "a special interest" in this matter because of that.
Rice dismissed a suggestion that President Asif Ali Zardari might not have complete control over all elements of his military and intelligence services.