Friday, September 16, 2011

Pakistan angrily reacts to U.S. defense chief warning

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Pakistan Thursday angrily reacted to remarks by U.S. defense secretary that Washington would do whatever it takes to defend U.S. forces from Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in Afghanistan.

Leon Panetta's remarks came two days after Taliban militants from the Haqqani network were blamed for attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul and NATO offices.

"Time and again we've urged the Pakistanis to exercise their influence over these kinds of attacks from the Haqqanis. And we have made very little progress in that area," Panetta told reporters flying with him to San Francisco on Wednesday.

Reacting to the U.S. defense chief's remarks, Pakistan said that the remarks about unilateral action inside Pakistan is out of line with the type of cooperation between the two countries on counter-terrorism.

Referring to his statement during weekly news briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said Pakistan condemns terrorism and terrorist incidents anywhere in the world.

She, however, pointed out that terrorism is a complex issue requiring close cooperation amongst all concerned. Pakistan and the United States have cooperated in counter-terrorism and Pakistan's cooperation is premised on the respect for the country's sovereignty.

The spokesperson said there was need to launch joint action against sanctuaries on the other side of the border from where militants have been launching attacks on Pakistani border posts and villages.