Ahead of Pakistan visit, top US official demands indiscriminate action against militants

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WASHINGTON: Ahead of her scheduled visit to Pakistan, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman demanded of Islamabad to take action against all extremist groups, which has sought reconciliation with militants both at home and in Afghanistan.

Wendy Sherman will arrive in Pakistan for a two-day official visit on October 7. The State Dept No. 2 will meet on October 7-8 with officials in Pakistan in a first high-level visit of a senior US functionary since Biden administration took charge in Jan.

“We seek a strong partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism and we expect sustained action against all militant and terrorist groups without distinction,” Sherman told reporters.

“Both of our countries have suffered terribly from the scourge of terrorism and we look forward to cooperative efforts to eliminate all regional and global terrorist threats,” she said from Switzerland, her first stop on a trip that will also take her to India and Uzbekistan.

During her visit to New Delhi and Mumbai on October 6-7, she will meet officials and civil society leaders and address the US-India Business Council’s annual “ideas summit”, according to the State Department.

In an important development prior to her visit, Pakistan on Friday confirmed that it is holding talks with Pakistani Taliban about laying down their arms.

“Some of the Pakistani Taliban groups actually want to talk to our government for some peace, for some reconciliation,” Prime Minister Imran Khan told Turkey’s TRT World television.

He said the discussions were taking place in Afghanistan with sections of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has waged years of deadly attacks.

“I repeat, I do not believe in military solutions,” Khan said.

Khan has also encouraged the world to engage Afghanistan’s Taliban and provide economic support, although he has stopped short of backing recognition — a step opposed by the United States.

Sherman praised Pakistan’s calls for an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

“We look to Pakistan to play a critical role in enabling that outcome,” she said.

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