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US continues to support Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, says the State Department

The United States Department of State has said that it values its relationship with Pakistan and will continue to support the country’s counter-terrorism operations.

Spokesperson for the US Department of State, Matthew Miller, said in a press briefing on Wednesday that the US has provided assistance to Pakistan to help with counter-terrorism and law enforcement activities, and will continue to do so.

Terrorist attacks have surged across Pakistan in recent months, targeting Pakistani security forces and civilians. Pakistan has blamed the Taliban for the escalating terror-related insecurity in Pakistan, mainly for harboring the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Pakistan officials have repeatedly expressed concern over the sanctuaries available for terrorist groups, including the TTP in Afghanistan and the involvement of Afghan nationals in terrorist incidents in Pakistan.

Last week, the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that citizens of Afghanistan were involved in a July 13 attack on the Pakistan Army’s Zhob Garrison in Northern Balochistan that killed 12 Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan Army Chief, General Asim Munir, has emphasized that his country will spare no efforts to dismantle terrorist networks and protect its citizens at all costs.

However, the Taliban has denied Pakistan’s consistent allegations that Afghanistan soil is used for cross-border militant attacks, saying that Pakistan should find a solution to tackle terror threats on its own.

The Taliban says that Afghanistan is not responsible for the security of its neighbors, and asks Pakistan to manage its security situation carefully and not blame Afghanistan.

A recent UN Security Council Monitoring report highlighted that factions of the TTP militants who are being sheltered in Afghanistan are avoiding control by the Taliban in a bid to merge with Al-Qaeda to expand their influence.

The report raised concerns that the TTP could become a regional threat if it continues to have a safe operating base in Afghanistan.