Washington, DC – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday (Oct. 23) reiterated the US calls on Pakistan to “not harbor” terrorists on its Western borders and cautioned that Islamabad will be held accountable if it continues.
Addressing journalists in a delayed press briefing at the State Department late in the afternoon, Secretary Pompeo commended, “the Afghan security and defense forces in their efforts to facilitate credible elections.” Welcoming the democratic legislative process, Pompeo said, “We’re encouraged by the high voter turnout in the Afghan parliamentary elections this past weekend.”
The US also expressed its commitment to “assisting the election commissions, especially in their work for the presidential election that will come in April of 2019.”
Replying to a question on recent killings in Afghanistan and alleged reports that Pakistani based elements were behind those, Secretary Pompeo mentioned his recent trip to Pakistan where he met the new leadership under the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pompeo noted, “We had made clear that the US policy with respect to South Central Asia has not changed, that our expectation is that Pakistan will not provide safe harbor to terrorists on their western border.”
Reiterating that, “We couldn’t have made that message any more clear,” Pompeo cautioned, “Pakistan will be held to account if they don’t achieve that, if they’re not sincere in that effort.”
Agreeing that, “Everyone wants a reconciliation in Afghanistan,” Secretary Pompeo argued, “and to achieve that, you can’t have a safe harbor for Taliban, for Haqqani, and for others inside of Pakistan.”
“The Pakistani government knows that that’s our view and this administration has already made significant efforts to hold them accountable, and we hope that they’ll achieve the goal that we’ve set out for them,” the US top diplomat concluded.