US blames Pakistan’s coddling of terror for escalating tensions, asks Islamabad to ‘combat and delegitimize’ terror groups


WASHINGTON: Pakistan is being blamed for the escalation of tensions in the Indian subcontinent. Its coddling of UN-designated terrorists and terror groups and its launching cross-border terrorism into India is being seen by the Obamaadministration as the provocation – if not justification — for New Delhi’s decision to conduct a one-time, demonstrative, surgical strike at terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Briefings at the White House and the State Department on Thursday left little doubt which side of the military and diplomatic face-off the United States is on, even as it counseled calm and restraint in the region. US officials explicitly cited the presence of proscribed terrorist groups inside Pakistan in the context of India’s neutralizing actions across the Line of Control, action that they did not condemn explicitly (and was therefore seen in some quarters as an implicit approval given the accompanying censure of Pakistan.)

Pakistan’s insistence that there was no such surgical strike by India gave Washington an easy way out. But there was no mistaking where the US put the responsibility for rising tensions.

“We’ve repeatedly expressed our concerns regarding the danger that terrorism poses to the region. And we all know that terrorism, in many ways, knows no border. We continue to urge actions to combat and delegitimize terrorist groups like LeT and the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said when asked about India’s actions.

Kirby confirmed that US secretary of state John Kery had one conversation with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in which “he condemned terrorism in all its forms and he cautioned against any escalation in tensions,” while reiterating his “strong condemnation of the September 18th Uri attack.”

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