US Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) has said that Pakistan must stop supporting the Taliban* and other terrorist groups, following a visit to Islamabad alongside fellow Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, where they met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and officials from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, as reported by the Hindustan Times.
“It was particularly helpful to discuss with key Pakistani leaders what more can be done to pre-empt terrorist attacks and prevent the spread of terrorist ideology", said Hassan one day after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Khan.
“It was important for us to communicate directly to Pakistan’s senior leadership that they must end support to the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In addition, amid escalating tensions in Kashmir, it’s critical that we find ways to help de-escalate the situation on both sides", she added, according to the Hindustan Times.
We also visited Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. Amid escalating tensions in Kashmir, it’s critical that we find ways to help de-escalate the situation on both sides. I’m now traveling to India where I'll meet officials to further discuss the situation and international trade.— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) October 10, 2019
“Several things are clear: One is that Pakistan continues to support and harbor the Taliban, and, in doing so, continues to support and harbor al-Qaeda*. And there is a real presence of ISIS-K* [Daesh in Arabic] in Afghanistan that poses a direct threat to our homeland as well", Hassan also said in a short video posted on her Twitter account, while speaking at the United States Embassy in Afghanistan which she and Van Hollen visited this week as well.
This past week, I went to Afghanistan to speak with Afghan leaders and U.S. troops about counterterrorism efforts and regional stability.— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) October 11, 2019
Watch now to hear my reflections▶ pic.twitter.com/ypYEbBLX00
In Afghanistan, Hassan and Van Hollen met with President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive of the Republic and presidential candidate Dr Abdullah Abdullah, top US generals and some other military officials to discuss counterterrorism efforts and drug trafficking. Hassan and Van Hollen also visited Pakistani-controlled Kashmir during their trip and called for a de-escalation of the situation over the disputed region.
I also met with President @ashrafghani, CEO and presidential candidate @DrabdullahCE, and top government officials with my colleague Senator @ChrisVanHollen.— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) October 10, 2019
We heard firsthand about the peace process and efforts to stabilize the country and region. pic.twitter.com/korbq74CKk
Senator Hassan then continued her trip to India to meet with political leaders and top US Embassy officials to discuss the situation in Kashmir and Indo-US bilateral relations.
In August, India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir where Pakistan also claims to be an important stakeholder, prompting Islamabad to launch a diplomatic offensive against New Delhi. Indian officials are now raising concerns over Pakistan mobilising terrorist groups along the Line of Control that runs through Pakistani and Indian controlled parts of the disputed region. In February, a suicide bomber from the allegedly Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) attacked a convoy of troops in Kashmir's Pulwama, killing 40 Indian soldiers.
*Taliban, al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other states.