The United States on Thursday said it has been “very honest” about its concerns about Pakistan being a safe haven for terrorists along the border areas of Afghanistan, PTI reported.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15 in a lightning offensive as the US and its allies pulled out its troops after a 20-year-war.

No world power has recognised the Taliban government yet. Pakistan, however, has urged nations to “engage” with the insurgent group and immediately help the new government prevent an imminent economic collapse.

Pakistan has been accused of supporting the Taliban even as the insurgent group had battled the US-led forces. Islamabad has denied this.

As Afghanistan’s neighbour, Pakistan has responsibilities to combat terrorism, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said at a press briefing on Thursday.

“I think it’s important to continue to remind that the Pakistani people, likewise, have been rendered victim by terrorist threats that emanate from those groups and along that same border,” he added.

Kirby said the United States continues to raise its concerns with Pakistan.

Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said the country would reassess its ties with Pakistan following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Blinken had said that Pakistan had a “multiplicity of interests”, some of which were in conflict to those of the US.

“It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harbouring members of the Taliban,” Blinked added. “It is one that’s also involved in different points cooperation with us on counterterrorism.”

Responding to Blinken’s comments, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said he has “never heard such ignorance”. He also dismissed allegations about Pakistan providing shelter to terrorists.

“What are these safe havens?” Khan had asked. “The area of Pakistan along the border of Afghanistan had the heaviest surveillance by the United States drones...Surely they would have known if there were any safe havens?”

Meanwhile, at a meeting of national security chiefs on September 8, Indian and Russian officials had warned against terror groups operating from Afghanistan, Reuters reported. An official said India also fears that terror groups in Pakistan may also use Afghanistan territory to orchestrate attacks.

“There was convergence of views on the presence of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan and threat from terrorism to Central Asia and India,” the official told Reuters.

‘China’s aggressive nature is frequently discussed by the Quad members’: Kirby

At the press briefing on Thursday, the Pentagon spokesperson also said that China’s aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific region is often discussed by the Quad members. Quad is an alliance of India, Australia, Japan and the US.

“Now, obviously, what China’s doing in the Indo-Pacific region, the aggressiveness, the coercive nature with which they try to press their claims, certainly is a frequent topic of discussion with all our allies and partners, and certainly inside the Quad,” Kirby said.

However, he added that the Quad did not exist to only counter China or its influence.

“It [the Quad arrangement] gives us another terrific opportunity to work multilaterally on all kinds of initiatives that can help create what we really want here, which is a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” Kirby said.