Pakistan, Turkey And Qatar Next On US's List Of State Sponsors Of Terrorism?

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| October 2 , 2017 , 15:13 IST

Although several times Pakistan has been alleged of being a state sponsor of terrorism and providing safe havens to terrorists on its soil, it has never been formally designated as such.

A former Pentagon official in an op-ed in The Washington Examiner said that it is time for the Trump Administration to designate Pakistan, along with Qatar and Turkey as state sponsors of terrorism.

"It is time to hold Pakistan to account. If Pakistan then wishes to escape sanctions, it must imprison terrorists on its soil and cease any funding and equipping of them," said Michael Rubin, a resident scholar with American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

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The US State Department has maintained a list of 'State Sponsor of Terrorism' since 1979, which has so far designated Libya, Iraq, South Yemen, Syria, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and North Korea as State Sponsor of Terrorism, determining that these have "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism."

Many of these countries were later removed from the list, and only three countries remain currently, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Rubin added, "at a time when the world is infested with terrorist activities, the US needs to return the terror list to its original purpose: calling out states which embrace terrorism, no matter whether they are US allies or not."

The former Pentagon official specified that three countries should definitely be included on the list, namely Pakistan, Turkey and Qatar.

"Pakistan has escaped the state sponsorship of terrorism list for far too long," Rubin asserted.

Rubin alleged that leaders of Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) openly supported the Taliban and that Islamabad continued to tolerate and support various terrorist groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

"Nor is it credible that Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan's equivalent of West Point, without senior Pakistani authorities knowing it," Rubin added.

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He observed that the occasional crackdowns on terrorist groups by the Pakistani government were 'insincere' and that Pakistani prisons have 'revolving doors' for even the most high-profile terrorists.

"Turning a blind eye toward Pakistani terror support cost scores of American lives, even as Pakistani leaders received billions of US dollars," he added.

"Perhaps the Bush and Obama administration gave Islamabad a pass because they wanted Pakistan's logistical cooperation in Afghanistan, but it didn't work," he said.

Meanwhile, Turkey has been accused of enabling and supplying ISIS and al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria while Qatar is allegedly a chief financer to Hamas and other al Qaeda affiliated terror groups in Syria and Libya.