Islamabad, Oct 10: After being accused of taking insufficient action to combat terror groups operating from its soil, Pakistan on Tuesday said it is ready to totally destroy the “safe havens” of Haqqani Network if the US provides concrete evidence of their existence.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said the US authorities visiting later in the month have been requested to provide more information to validate their claim of Haqqani militants taking refuge in Pakistan.
“We have offered American authorities to visit Pakistan with evidence of Haqqani network’s safe havens in the country. If they find any activity [of Haqqanis] in the targeted areas, our troops, along with the US, would destroy them once and for all,” Asif was reported as saying by Express News.
Ready for joint operation
The statement of Asif, ahead of the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis, indicates a change in Islamabad’s stance which has so far resisted the direct involvement of US troops on its soil.
According to Asif, the proposal for a joint operation was also made to Afghanistan, when the Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Kabul last month.
The proposal is also considered a concession on part of Pakistan, which has faced flak over the past several months for “harbouring the agents of chaos and terror” on its soil.
‘US must appreciate our efforts’
Even as the Pakistan Foreign Minister claimed willingness of the nation to work alongside US and Afghanistan to eliminate terror from the region, he continued to express dissent over the recent remarks made by US President Donald Trump and his senior officials.
Asif said Pakistan would not accept the charge of taking “insufficient” effort in the war against terror, even if it leads to deterioration of ties between Islamabad and Washington.
“If the Trump administration exerts more pressure on us, friendly countries, especially China, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, will stand by our side,” he was reported as saying.