Strongly condemning the terror attack in Lahore, the US Monday called for global unity against fighting extremism and offered assistance to Pakistan in investigation.
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this terror attack at a children’s park in Lahore yesterday. It’s grotesque, and the fact that you have an extremist organisation targeting religious minorities and children is an outrage,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.
“The other thing, I think is indicative of what we talk about up here quite a bit is that even though this terror attack was targeted at Christians, a religious minority in Pakistan — again, that is in and of itself grotesque, but the fact of the matter is that based on the names that we’re seeing now, the majority of the victims were actually Muslims,” he said.
“It demonstrates how important it is for the world to come together to fight this kind of extremism. That certainly has been the approach — the approach that the president has taken in making sure that peace-loving people of all faiths and of all religions must come together to fight this kind of extremism, and that certainly is what our values and our sense of morality tells us,” Earnest said.
“As a purely practical matter, that’s also what’s going to be required, and our success in fighting extremism around the globe is going to also depend on the ability of individual nations to fight extremism within their borders. And certainly, the government of Pakistan understands this today, just how critically important that is,” Earnest said in response to a question.
The United States and Pakistan have an important counter-terrorism relationship, he said, adding that the Obama Administration certainly values the kind of cooperation that it has received from them.
“In this instance, the response and the investigation will be conducted by the Pakistani government and if they request assistance from the United States, it will be provided,” he said.
State Department Spokesman John Kirby said, “There is no doubt that Pakistan continues to be under threat from terrorists inside their own country, and we’ve talked about this before — that innocent Pakistanis — and we saw it again this weekend — continue to suffer at the hands of terrorists inside Pakistan.”
He said US is committed to help Pakistan deal with the threat of terrorism.
“…nothing has changed about our commitment to do what we can to help them deal with this threat, because it isn’t not just a Pakistani threat. It’s a regional threat, it’s a global threat in many ways,” he said in response to a question.
“We stand by the people of Pakistan right now, and we also stand by our commitment to assist Pakistan going forward,” Kirby said.
Given the actions taken against terrorist groups in the last one year, Kirby said these groups are under pressure and they are looking for ways to lash out.
“And suicide bombings and these kinds of dramatic terrorist attacks are ways to do that, doesn’t mean, and I don’t want to indicate that it means that we think the threat’s passed or that, you know, that they’re not still a dangerous group,” Kirby said.
“Either TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) in this case, or Daesh (ISIS) as we were talking about in respect to Brussels. They are still dangerous. We still have to take the threat very seriously,” he said.