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Pakistan Briefs U.S. Envoy On Counterterrorism Efforts

U.S. special representative Alice Wells (right) meets with Tehmina Janjua on January 18.
U.S. special representative Alice Wells (right) meets with Tehmina Janjua on January 18.

Pakistani officials have briefed a visiting senior U.S. diplomat on recent efforts to fight against terrorism, after the United States suspended security assistance to the South Asian country.

The Foreign Office said the delegation led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells was briefed on January 15 on "recent counterterrorism actions taken by Pakistan's law enforcement agencies."

Wells "acknowledged Pakistan's efforts in eradicating terrorism" and "underlined the need for strengthening intelligence cooperation" to fight terrorism, a statement said.

U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of harboring militant groups that carry out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, charges denied by Islamabad.

Early this month, the U.S. government announced it was suspending security assistance to the Pakistani military until it takes "decisive action" against the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that are operating in Afghanistan. U.S. officials said the freeze could affect 2 billion worth of assistance.

The move has strained bilateral relations, with Pakistan's Foreign Office saying on January 5 that Washington's "arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements, and shifting goalposts are counterproductive" to addressing the threat of terrorism.

The ministry also sought to minimize the impact of the aid cut, saying Pakistan had spent more than $120 billion during the past 15 years on counterterrorism, largely from its own resources.

Also on January 15, the top U.S. military commander, General Joseph Dunford, said that he was committed to the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

"Do we agree on everything right now? No we don't. But are we committed to a more effective relationship with Pakistan? We are. And I'm not giving up on that," Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters during a trip to Brussels.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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