Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

KERRY URGES PAKISTAN IN TERROR FIGHT

ISLAMABAD - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Pakistan today to press the country's leadership to step up the fight against extremists and eliminate safe havens for terror groups along the Afghan border.

He was welcomed by Pakistan's foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz and headed directly into meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Mr. Kerry is making the case for more robust efforts against all extremist groups in the country, particularly after last month's devastating Taliban attack on a Peshawar school that killed 150 people, most of them children.

Pakistan has boosted operations against violent extremists in its recent months, notably following the Peshawar attack that stunned the nation. But U.S. officials traveling with Mr. Kerry said Washington wants to ensure that there is a "real and sustained effort" to limit the abilities of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network and Laskhar e Tayyiba, which pose direct threats to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, as well as to American interests.

Mr. Aziz hinted that Mr. Kerry might go to Peshawar on Tuesday to pay his respects to the victims, saying it would be a nice gesture, but the State Department declined to comment on Mr. Kerry's plans.

Underscoring the importance of the security aspect of Kerry's trip, he was being joined in his meetings with Gen. Lloyd Austin, the chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East and South Asia.

CHILDREN RETURN TO ATTACKED SCHOOL

Pakistani children returned today to the school where Taliban gunmen killed 150 of their classmates and teachers last month, clutching their parents' hands tightly in a poignant symbol of perseverance despite the horrors they had endured.

It was the first time the school had reopened since the assault and security was tight. The nation has been reeling from the Dec. 16 terrorist attack in Peshawar - one of the worst Pakistan has experienced. The violence carried out by seven Taliban militants heaped pressure on authorities to end the stubborn insurgency that kills and maims thousands every year. …

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