US says Pakistan ‘has right to defend itself from terrorism’

The United States has supported the anti-terrorism decisions made by the National Security Committee (NSC) at its recent meeting, saying that “Pakistan has the right to defend itself against terrorism.”

The statement by US State Department spokesman Ned Price comes two days after the NSC, the highest civilian and military forum for decisions on matters related to national security, expressed its firm determination to crush to terrorist groups operating against Pakistan.

At the two-day NSC meeting from December 31 to January 1, the forum had categorically called on Afghanistan’s rulers, without naming them directly, to deny Pakistani terror groups safe haven on their soil and end their their sponsorship, while reiterating their intention to crush the terrorist groups operating inside the country with all their might.

The unusually strong statement issued at the end of the NSC meeting read: “Pakistan’s security is uncompromising and full state control will be maintained over every inch of Pakistan’s territory.”

At a press conference Tuesday, the US State Department spokesman said the US was aware of the recent NSC statement.

“The Pakistani people have suffered tremendously from the terrorist attacks. Pakistan has the right to defend itself against terrorism,” Price said in response to a question.

He said the [Afghan] Taliban must uphold the same commitment they had made that their soil would never be used as a launching pad for international terrorist attacks.

“These are some of the commitments that the Taliban have been unable or unwilling to fulfill to date,” he added.

The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by key ministers, service chiefs and top intelligence officials, also endorsed the government’s road map to restore economic stability in the country.

The NSC meeting was called to deliberate on the increase in terrorist attacks and the deepening economic crisis.

Most of the attacks have been carried out by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The forum also discussed the increase in border incidents involving Taliban forces.

The committee agreed on a series of steps to deal with the worsening security situation, which also caught the attention of several major capitals and prompted them to issue notices for their citizens residing here.

The most important of all these actions was to send an unequivocal message to neighboring Afghanistan to end all support for TTP.

“No country will be able to provide sanctuaries and facilitation to terrorists and Pakistan reserves all rights in that regard to safeguard its people,” the NSC statement read.

The warning was sent amid a growing war of words between the two countries over the TTP and the border dispute.

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