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Promising steps by Pakistan need to be followed up, says Boucher

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | December 19, 2008 03:17 IST

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Coverage: Terror in Mumbai

Describing as "promising" the steps initiated by Islamabad [Images] in cracking down on militant groups in wake of the Mumbai terror attacks [Images], the US has expressed hope they would be followed up until terror outfits'capacity to launch attacks from Pakistani soil is eliminated.

"I think the steps that we've seen Pakistan take are good steps. They're promising steps. We hope they get followed up," Assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said in Beijing [Images] last week, according to a transcript released today by the State Department.

Pakistan understands that extremist groups are a threat to the country, a threat to the neighbourhood, and "as we saw in Mumbai, a threat to Americans and Indians and people of many other nationalities," Boucher said.

He said besides preliminary investigation, Pakistan should try to get to the bottom of the terror network operating in the country and said the US will continue to work with the country to make sure that further terror strikes can be prevented.

"That's why I think it's important to see that they have picked up some of the leaders of the organisation. I think it's going to be important to see that they push through that to the end in terms of eliminating the capability of the organisation to launch attacks from Pakistani soil," Boucher said.

On how China should use its influence to bring Pakistan to fully cooperate in the Mumbai attcaks probe and its aftermath, he said this is better left to Beijing, which also favours eliminating terror groups from Pakistan.     "In terms of the Chinese and how they use their influence, it's really something I have to leave to China to explain, discuss. What I found in my consultations today is we have very similar goals.    

"We don't want to see Pakistani territory used to conduct terrorist attacks. We don't want to see groups be able to go in and out of Pakistan and go elsewhere to perpetuate terrorism in the region," Boucher said. "We want to support Pakistan's own capability to deal with those situations. So I think China and the US in that regard have very similar goals. But how they carry that out and achieve it, I think I have to leave to them to explain," he added.

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