The Pakistani military is holding back counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States while continuing to go easy on militant groups allegedly based in the country, US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats claimed on Tuesday.
Coats alleged during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee that despite Washington’s requests to do more, the Pakistan Army is only trying to appear tougher against the Taliban and Haqqani militants.
“Pakistan-based militant groups continue to take advantage of their safe haven to conduct attacks in India, in Afghanistan, and including US interests therein,” Coats claimed. Pakistan denies claims that it provides safe havens to any militant groups.
“Ongoing Pakistani military operations against the Taliban and associated groups probably reflect the desire to appear more proactive and responsive to our requests for more actions against these groups,” the intelligence director added.
See: US general rules out military operations inside Pakistan
However, actions taken thus far “do not reflect a significant escalation of pressure against these groups and are unlikely to have a lasting effect”, he claimed.
Coats said that the US Treasury Department had announced terror designations in recent weeks on eight members of the Taliban, the Haqqani Group and other groups, aiming to boost pressure on the militants’ abilities to operate.
However US intelligence agents believe that Pakistan “will maintain ties to these militants while restricting counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States,” he said.
The US intelligence director’s claims come hours after Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa told a defence conference attended by US and Nato officials in Kabul that Pakistan has eliminated all militant sanctuaries from its territory and expects the same to be reciprocated by its neighbours.
The COAS assured the defence officials in attendance that Pakistan does not allow its territory to be used against any other country and “expects the same in reciprocity”.
He reiterated that Pakistan has eliminated all terrorist sanctuaries from its soil, however, “residual signatures of terrorists” who take advantage of the presence of Afghan refugees and lack of effective border security coordination, “are also being traced and targeted through ongoing operation Raddul Fasaad”.