Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of extremist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and and the Jaish-e-Mohammad in the country, adding that “we need to put our house in order.” In an interview with Geo TV, the foreign minister also said that Pakistan needed to make a “clean break” from its past.

Asif said the country should not have participated in the erstwhile Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, as well as in the “War on Terror”. “We need to break our false image [as a hub of extremist groups],” Asif said. “We need to accept history and correct ourselves. We need to tell our friends that we have improved our house, in order to prevent facing embarassment on an international level.” He said more action needed to be taken against the proscribed extremist groups.

However, Asif said that the Brics declaration, which identified terror groups operating in the region, was not a setback to Pakistan, as these groups had already been banned in the country.

But Asif’s views contradicted Pakistan Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir’s statement on Tuesday. “We reject the declaration [released by member countries] at the Brics Summit,” Dastagir had said. “Pakistan has taken action against all [extremist] groups on its soil and only the remnants of some are left.”

Pakistan does not fear any external aggression as its Army, Navy and Air Force are keeping an eye on the situation, he added.