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Pakistan Remains 'Safe Haven' for 'Terrorist Groups': US Report

In an annual report released on Wednesday, the US State Department said Pakistan continued to serve as a “safe haven for certain regionally focused terrorist groups.”

“It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN (Haqqani network), as well as groups targeting India, including LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and its affiliated front organizations, and JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed), to operate from its territory,” it said.

Pakistan took "modest steps" in 2019 to counter terror financing and to restrain some India-focused militant groups following the February attack on a security convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir claimed by Pakistan-based JeM, the report said.

The report also stated that Islamabad has "yet to take decisive actions" against Indian- and Afghanistan-focused militants that would undermine their operational capability.
However, the report noted that the Pakistani government also played a "constructive role" in US-Taliban talks in 2019, according to the report.

In June 2018, the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) placed Pakistan on its “gray list” and issued an Action Plan directing Pakistan to take specific steps by September 2019 to address strategic deficiencies in its counter- terrorist funding efforts.

The FATF expressed serious concern at its October 2019 plenary about Pakistan’s continued deficiencies but noted it had made some progress and extended the deadline for full Action Plan implementation to February 2020, the reported mentioned.

On Afghanistan, the report said that in 2019, the Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani network had "increased terrorist attacks targeting Afghan civilians, government officials, and members of the international community."

Additionally, the report said Daesh continued to attack civilians and especially targeted religious minorities.

"The enemy-initiated attack trend in 2019 defied its usual seasonal pattern; while in most years, such attacks decrease in cold-weather months, they remained consistently high following the summer fighting season," the report said.

Daesh, elements of al-Qaida, including affiliate al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and terrorist groups targeting Pakistan, such as TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan), continued to use the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region as a safe haven, the report said.

Afghanistan is also the only member of the Global Coalition to defeat Daesh from South and Central Asia, the report noted.

The report also said that Afghanistan continued to face significant challenges in protecting its borders, particularly those with Pakistan and Iran.

Under the bilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), which met for the first time in July 2018, Afghan and Pakistani officials agreed "in principle" to create a mechanism for communication between security forces on each side of the border.

On June 10 at the APAPPS Review Session in Islamabad, the Afghan and Pakistani deputy foreign ministers met to discuss trade, transit, the peace process, refugees, and closer border security coordination.

Despite this review and discussions between the two governments to utilize APAPPS, progress through this forum remains slow, the report mentioned.

Pakistan Remains 'Safe Haven' for 'Terrorist Groups': US Report

Pakistan took modest steps in 2019 to counter terror financing and to restrain some India-focused militant groups, US report said.

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In an annual report released on Wednesday, the US State Department said Pakistan continued to serve as a “safe haven for certain regionally focused terrorist groups.”

“It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN (Haqqani network), as well as groups targeting India, including LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and its affiliated front organizations, and JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed), to operate from its territory,” it said.

Pakistan took "modest steps" in 2019 to counter terror financing and to restrain some India-focused militant groups following the February attack on a security convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir claimed by Pakistan-based JeM, the report said.

The report also stated that Islamabad has "yet to take decisive actions" against Indian- and Afghanistan-focused militants that would undermine their operational capability.
However, the report noted that the Pakistani government also played a "constructive role" in US-Taliban talks in 2019, according to the report.

In June 2018, the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) placed Pakistan on its “gray list” and issued an Action Plan directing Pakistan to take specific steps by September 2019 to address strategic deficiencies in its counter- terrorist funding efforts.

The FATF expressed serious concern at its October 2019 plenary about Pakistan’s continued deficiencies but noted it had made some progress and extended the deadline for full Action Plan implementation to February 2020, the reported mentioned.

On Afghanistan, the report said that in 2019, the Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani network had "increased terrorist attacks targeting Afghan civilians, government officials, and members of the international community."

Additionally, the report said Daesh continued to attack civilians and especially targeted religious minorities.

"The enemy-initiated attack trend in 2019 defied its usual seasonal pattern; while in most years, such attacks decrease in cold-weather months, they remained consistently high following the summer fighting season," the report said.

Daesh, elements of al-Qaida, including affiliate al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and terrorist groups targeting Pakistan, such as TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan), continued to use the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region as a safe haven, the report said.

Afghanistan is also the only member of the Global Coalition to defeat Daesh from South and Central Asia, the report noted.

The report also said that Afghanistan continued to face significant challenges in protecting its borders, particularly those with Pakistan and Iran.

Under the bilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), which met for the first time in July 2018, Afghan and Pakistani officials agreed "in principle" to create a mechanism for communication between security forces on each side of the border.

On June 10 at the APAPPS Review Session in Islamabad, the Afghan and Pakistani deputy foreign ministers met to discuss trade, transit, the peace process, refugees, and closer border security coordination.

Despite this review and discussions between the two governments to utilize APAPPS, progress through this forum remains slow, the report mentioned.

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