In the wake of last week’s attack on a landmark hotel in Kabul carried out by the Taliban, the White House on Monday called on Islamabad to take action against the militant group’s leaders.
At least 30 people were killed when Taliban militants stormed the luxury Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital on Saturday. The siege had continued overnight as Afghan security forces battled the terrorists.
Islamabad had strongly condemned the act of terror, expressing sorrow over the loss of precious human lives in the attack and highlighting the need for cooperation among states in combating terrorism.
Separately, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had rejected the knee-jerk reaction “by some Afghan circles to point the finger at Pakistan for the terrorist attack on Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul”. Islamabad had called for a credible investigation into the attack.
Addressing a press briefing on Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the attack against civilians would only serve to strengthen Washington’s resolve in working with its Afghan partners.
Commending the “swift action” taken by the Afghan security forces at the time of the attack, Sanders added: “Afghanistan forces, with our support, will continue to relentlessly pursue the enemies of Afghanistan who also seek to export terror around the world.”
“We call on Pakistan to immediately arrest or expel the Taliban’s leaders,” Sanders said, adding that Pakistan should “prevent the group from using Pakistani territory to support its operations”.
In the recent months, Washington has increased pressure on Pakistan to “do more” in combating terrorism.
In a tweet on New Year’s Day, US President Donald Trump had accused Pakistan of taking $33 billion in aid and giving only “deceit and lies” in return while harbouring Afghan insurgents. Days later, the US had suspended military aid to Pakistan.
Infuriated by Trump’s tweet, Pakistan had accused Washington of making it a scapegoat for its failure to bring peace to Afghanistan.