Amid Indian intelligence reports that groups and people within Pakistan planned and executed the strike on the Pathankot airbase, a senior State Department official said Pakistan should not come out with lame excuses to shield them as has been the case with the Mumbai terrorist attack.

The official indicated that the US wants to give the civilian government time and space to act on its words and hoped that Pakistan would not repeat its past trend wherein it is seen reluctant in taking actions against terrorist groups under one excuse or the other.

"They said that they (Pakistan) would investigate it and we need to let that process go forward. But obviously we want to see that the perpetrators be brought to account (as soon as possible)," the State Department official said on anonymity.

The official also expressed a sense of satisfaction over the reaction by the Nawaz Sharif government on the first few days of the attack.

Senior US Government officials have been in close contact with their Pakistani counterparts in the aftermath of the attacks in Pathankot and Afghanistan's Majar-e-Sharif urging them to take right course of action which, if they do, would not only be a great confidence building measure but would also help improve relationship with India.

According to officials, it would become very difficult for the US Government to convince the Republican-controlled Congress to approve a sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan if Islamabad is seen as reluctant in taking action against these terrorist groups.

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