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US pushing Pakistan to punish Mumbai terror attackers

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Describing India and Pakistan as two very important countries, the United States says it is encouraging Islamabad to fully investigate and bring those responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

“Well, we certainly have encouraged and continue to encourage Pakistan to fully investigate the Mumbai attacks, and even more importantly, bring those responsible before their judicial system,” a State Department spokesman told reporters Wednesday.

The US is also helping Pakistan address the issue of extremism within its borders, spokesman P.J. Crowley said when asked to comment on a New York Times report that Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terror outfit behind the Mumbai attacks, was largely intact and was determined to attack India again.

Asked about a meeting between Indian External Affairs S. M. Krishna and his Pakistan counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Crowley said: “I think we certainly encourage a dialogue between India and Pakistan, two very important countries to the United States.”

“The United States, in this region of the world, is focused -understands clearly the importance of Afghanistan, the importance of Pakistan, the importance of India, and the interaction among those countries,” he said when a reporter suggested US policy focused too much on the wrong border of Pakistan.

The US has “a strategic relationship that is emerging with India. We have a vitally important relationship with Pakistan, are working hard to help Pakistan address the issue of extremism within its borders,” Crowley said adding, the US was also very concerned about the cross-border activity between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“I think that these – this is kind of an inseparable – you can’t look at peace and stability in South Asia without understanding the vitally important role played by all of these three countries and, obviously, the surrounding republics in Central Asia as well,” said.

It’s one of the reasons why we changed our strategic focus, that you could not look at these countries in isolation. “And clearly, we have had discussions with both Pakistan and India on their relationship and how that affects the ability of any of these countries to address the challenges that exist within their respective borders.

“So we recognize the importance of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,” Crowley said. “We recognise the vital importance of a stable relationship between Pakistan and India, and we continue to encourage all of these countries to work constructively together.”