Kashmir can't be excuse for Pak to not act against militants: MCain

John McCain

Pakistan has kept the "best" of its forces on the "Kashmir border" instead of deploying them on its Afghan border, a top American Senator has said, asserting that Islamabad cannot use Kashmir as an "excuse" to not act against terrorist safe havens.

"Kashmir obviously has a significant effect in a lot of ways... including the stationing of troops in very significant numbers on Kashmir border rather than on the Afghan border (which) in our view could be much more usefully employed," Senator John McCain said, responding to a question at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an eminent Washington-based think tank.

McCain, who had visited Jammu and Kashmir last year, said, "I think it is a long standing problem. I understand there have been at least discussions about that Indians are at least in a mood to have conversations (on Kashmir). Lot of people die... it's a sad situation," he said.

"...But to somehow use Kashmir as an excuse to break ties with the Haqqani network... by the way, we have now strong evidence of the spectacular attacks, which are reminiscent of the spectacular attack to get American public opinion... that does not change the fact in my view it is reprehensible that the ISI continues to maintain a close relationship with the Haqqani network, responsible for the deaths of Americans," McCain said.

He said Kashmir "is a huge friction point", but to use this as an "excuse for its failure to act more forcefully against terrorist networks that are acting almost openly in parts of Afghanistan, is rescind in my view."

"Facts on the grounds were very clear that majority of the best trained soldiers of the army are on the border with Kashmir, rather than on the border with Afghanistan," he said when asked about a statement by Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani that he was in favour of less defence spending and peaceful co-existence with India.

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