WASHINGTON: The United States has condemned “in the strongest terms” Sunday’s suicide bombing in Bajaur, Pakistan, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, while reaffirming Washington’s commitment to work with Islamabad to deal with the “shared” terrorist threats.
“No country should have to suffer such acts of terror,” Miller told his daily press briefing on Tuesday in response to a question from the correspondent of a private Pakistani television channel.
The death toll from the deadly attack, which targeted a political rally, has risen to 56, with 83 injured.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the attack in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday during a political rally,” the spokesperson said.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries sustained from the explosion and share our heartfelt condolences with those affected by the attack. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists. No country should have to suffer such acts of terror,” Miller added.
Miller went on to say that the U.S. remains “committed to working with Pakistan to address the shared threat posed by terrorist groups throughout the region and support the Pakistani Government’s efforts to combat terrorism in a manner that promotes the rule of law and the protection of human rights.”
The spokesperson was asked whether the U.S. got any commitment from the Taliban during their recent Doha meeting that they would not allow their soil to be used for cross-border terror attacks.
“We made clear in that meeting, as we have in our other meetings with the Taliban, our other engagements with the Taliban, that we believe it is important that they not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for terrorist attacks in the region or anywhere else,” Miller said in response to the question.
Further asked whether Pakistan had asked for any military support from the U.S. to deal with rising terrorist threats, he said, “I’m not going to get into conversations between our two countries, but I will say that the State Department does fund several counterterrorism capacity building programmes in Pakistan, focused on law enforcement and the justice sector, and we’ll continue to do so.”
Responding to a question from the correspondent of another private Pakistan TV channel about Pakistan-China relationship, Miller said, “I will say that, first of all, our support for Pakistan’s economic success is unwavering. We’ll continue to engage with Pakistan about strengthening our trade and investment ties, all of which are priorities for our bilateral relationship.
“With respect to investments by any country, we believe good governance, long-term capacity building, and sustainable market-based approaches that allow the private sector flourish are the best paths to sustained growth and development. We welcome trade and investment that promotes such development and growth.
“But we will continue, in all cases, to emphasize the need for transparency, sustainable financing practices, and preservation of national and data security to ensure mutual benefit for both Pakistan and its partners. We have not always seen that with respect to investments by the PRC in countries around the world. But if – investments that promote transparency and responsible debt management we believe are appropriate.”