Washington, Jan 11: The US has called for partnership between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan on counter-terrorism operations, asserting that is for the "betterment" of the region as security of the three countries is linked with one another.
"The realisation that Afghanistan's security, Pakistan's security, indeed India's security -- they're all interconnected. So as much as they can work in tandem or work in a partnership on counterterrorism operations, I think it's for the betterment of the region," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Tuesday.
Condemning the terrorist attacks on Afghanistan's Parliament in Kabul that killed at least 38 people, and also one in Kandhar, Toner agreed with the allegations of the Afghan government that continuation of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan gave terrorists an opportunity to carry out attacks inside Afghanistan at their will.
"I think we've been very frank and very open about publicly saying to Pakistan that it needs to not provide any safe haven to groups that will or are intent on carrying out attacks on Afghanistan," Toner said.
"We've seen some progress. We've seen them take some steps to address these safe havens. But clearly, the problem persists and it's something that's part of our ongoing conversation or ongoing dialogue or ongoing cooperation with Pakistan," he said in response to a question.
Toner said an attack on the Afghanistan's Parliament is an attack on democracy and the US would not let the war-torn country slip away the gains. "An attack on parliamentarians is frankly an attack on democracy," he said.
"I think its in the work-in-progress column and I think the President and the Secretary of State has spoken frankly about the fact that we don't wanna see Afghanistan slide back into what it was. By we I mean not just the US, but the international community, NATO and its partners on the ground," he added.
The US is encouraging the Afghan government and its people to build up the capacity of the security forces and consolidating their strengths. "The United States has worked hard to foster Afghan-led peace process, which again ultimately is US believe, the way forward," he said.
"We encourage that. I don't think we can possibly look at it though and say, mission accomplished. We would certainly not say that. But at the same point, we're not gonna encourage any kind of walking away from the situation there," Toner said.