Do not back anti-India terror groups: US to Pak

Washington: Stating that Pakistan has used terror groups in Kashmir against India, the US has cautioned Islamabad that it is making "a serious, grievous, strategic error" by supporting these outfits.

Pakistan believes that it can keep a "wild animal in the backyard" and it will only go after its neighbour, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

But, there are too many stories where that doesn`t turn out like that, she said.

"We are pressing and pushing on every lever that we have in the relationship, and we have to be effective in trying to achieve our strategic goal, which is to prevent any attacks against us emanating from Pakistan, as well as to try to help stabilise Pakistan against this internal threat, and to create the best possible circumstances for Afghanistan to be able to have control over its own future," Clinton said.

"Those are all extremely difficult and we are learning it, each piece of that, every single day," she said in response to a question after she delivered her remarks at the "Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series" here.

Clinton said Pakistani people are trying to navigate through a very difficult security environment.

"And I like to remind myself and my colleagues of that because they have a great stake in trying to end terrorism against themselves, but they bring to their fight against terrorism deep concerns about the relationship with India, about what happens in Afghanistan after US and coalition troops draw down, what happens in the greater region that could destabilise them further," she said.

Referring to the support US provided to these insurgent groups during the fight against the Russians in Afghanistan, Clinton said when she meets Pakistani officials, they rightly say, "You`re the ones who told us to cooperate with these people. You`re the ones who funded them.

"You`re the ones who equipped them. You`re the ones who used them to bring down the Soviet Union by driving them out of Afghanistan. And we are now both in a situation that is highly complex and difficult to extricate ourselves from."

That is how they see it, she noted. "They also have used groups in the past to support their ongoing conflict with India over Kashmir. And when I became Secretary of State, they were trying to basically appease the Pakistani Taliban who were attacking them. So they were trying to draw a distinction between the good terrorists and the bad terrorists, because we had funded the good terrorists together."

"So they were dealing with this network of terrorism that had been better organised and directed because of al-Qaeda, which brought a lot more funding into the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan and much more of a sense of mission, because (Osama) bin Laden and those who worked with him had a very highly developed idea about how to inflict damage on the United States and others," Clinton said.

So, one of the US` first rounds of discussions with the Pakistanis was how it was not in their interest to permit terrorists to take over territory, something they thought would appease them, which obviously did not and could not, she said. "So they began moving troops off their Indian border.

They began going after the Pakistani Taliban."

"So I think it`s important that we appreciate their perspective about where we both are right now. That in no way excuses the fact that they are making a serious, grievous, strategic error supporting these groups, because you think that you can keep a wild animal in the backyard and it will only go after your neighbour? We have too many stories where that doesn`t turn out like that," Clinton said.