US asks Pakistan to immediately end ‘support’ and ‘safe haven’ to all terror groups
Washington, Feb. 15 (PTI): In a stern message to Pakistan, the White House has asked Islamabad to “immediately end” its “support” to all terror groups and not to provide “safe haven” to them, as the US condemned the brutal Pulwama terror attack claimed the lives of at least 40 CRPF soldiers.
Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday that left at least 40 CRPF soldiers dead and five others critically wounded.
“The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a late night statement on Thursday.
“This attack only strengthens our resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation and coordination between the United States and India,” she said in a strongly-worded statement issued by the White House.
Sanders said the United States condemns in the strongest terms the heinous terrorist attack in Pulwama by a Pakistan-based terrorist group.
“We express our deep condolences to the victims’ families, the Indian government, and the Indian people for the loss of life in this brutal attack,” said the Press Secretary of President Donald Trump.
Earlier, the US State Department said in a statement that it was “resolutely committed” to working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its forms.
“The US condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack today on an Indian Central Reserve Police Force convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said.
“The UN designated, Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad has claimed responsibility for this heinous act. We call on all countries to uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe haven and support for terrorists,” Palladino said.
Several US lawmakers also expressed solidarity with India in the wake of a dastardly terror attack and said the two countries stand united in condemning and defeating terror.
Cutting across party lines, over 50 Congressmen and Senators took to social media to express their solidarity with the people of India and called for strict action against the JeM terror outfit and its state sponsors.
“I strongly condemn the terror attack in Kashmir. The United States stands with our friends in India, and I send heartfelt condolences to the families that lost loved ones,” top Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said he was outraged by the terror attack, “one of the deadliest in the region since 1989”.
Republican Senator Johnny Isakson strongly criticised the terror strike and pledged the US’ support to India in defeating terrorism.
“Today, more than 40 Indian military police were killed by a radical Islamist terrorist group in the deadliest attack in 30 years on Indian forces in Kashmir. I send my deepest condolences to the soldiers injured and killed in this senseless attack, to their families, and to India, a critical ally in the global war on terror, said Republican Senator John Cornyn, Co-Chair of Senate India caucus.
“My heart is with the victims of the Kashmir Terror Attack. The United States stands with our Indian allies against those behind this heinous act of terrorism,” Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who is co-chair of the Senate India Caucus and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, posted on Twitter.
Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said, “We stand with the people of India in condemning the terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir, and send our condolences and prayers to the victims families. We must all stand up against these jihadists and their ideology.
Heartbreaking. My thoughts are with the families of the victims of heinous terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir today. We must confront terror and defeat it, wherever it occurs, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said.
Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said countries must not allow terrorist groups like JeM to operate with impunity.
Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick, Dan Crenshaw, Al Green, Don Bacon, George Holding, Joe Wilson, Jeff Van Drew, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Frank Pallone, Michael McCaul, Joe Morelle, Will Hurd, Brad Sherman, Ted Yoho and Congresswomen Elissa Slotkin, Paul Gosar also expressed outrage at the attack and sympathised with the affected families.
At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and five injured in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
India slammed Pakistan over the attack carried out by JeM and asked the neighbouring country to stop supporting terrorists and dismantle terror infrastructure operating from its soil.
Meanwhile, Pakistan said the terrorist attack in Pulwama district is “a matter of grave concern” even as it strongly rejected Indian media and government’s allegations of the country’s link to the strike “without” probe.