NEW YORK - The United States is "very firm" on ensuring universal respect for human rights, American Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Sunday when questioned about the public flogging of a girl in Pakistan and the new law in Afghanistan curbing womens rights. "I think obviously we'd be very, very concerned at any instance of abuse of human rights," Ms. rice said on ABC's news programme, "This Week". "And whether we're talking about Pakistan or Afghanistan or any other country in the world, the United States is very firm in insisting that human rights must be respected universally, and this sort of behavior would be inconsistent with that," she said after a video of the teenager's lashing in Swat was shown. Answering a question about the growing Taliban influence in Pakistan, Ambassador Rice said the country has the most immediate stake in preventing the spread of extremism within its own territory. "The actions of al Qaeda and the Taliban and their allies threaten Pakistan on a daily basis, even as they threaten us as well", she said. "So our aim in the new policy that the president has unveiled which got unanimous support from all of our NATO partners was embraced and endorsed earlier this week in The Hague by more than 80 countries, is focused on supporting both Afghanistan and Pakistan in their efforts to root out this sort of extremism. "And the assistance that we will be providing Pakistan, both economic and military, will be tied to Pakistan's ability and willingness to continue to do as it has been doing, which is to try to root out these extremists".