Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Pentagon chief seeks more antiterror efforts by Pakistan

Pentagon chief seeks more antiterror efforts by Pakistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met Pakistan's civilian and military leaders on Monday and urged them to "redouble" their efforts to rein in militants accused of using the country as a base to carry out attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.

"You begin by seeking their (Pakistan's) assistance", Pompeo said, noting that Secretary Mattis during his Islamabad visit will "make clear the President's intent" and "deliver the message that we would love you to do that (destroy the safe havens)". He agreed with Mattis that both Pakistan and the USA have a common stake in securing peace and security in Afghanistan for the long term stability of the broader region.

The United States, according to media reports, has been considering expanding the CIA's drone strikes aimed at militant targets in northwest Pakistan along the border with Pakistan, along with several other measures, which could possibly include downgrading Pakistan's current status as a major non-NATO ally.

"The objective of my visit is to find common grounds in order to create a positive, consistent and long term relationship with Pakistan", Mattis said.

Articulating Pakistan's perspective, Prime Minister noted that no other country benefits more from peace and stability in Afghanistan than Pakistan.

"I am sure the USA defense secretary is also carrying a wish list with him but I don't think Pakistan will accept any dictation as it has already demonstrated its seriousness in fighting terrorism, and Washington in recent weeks has appreciated and acknowledged Pakistan's sacrifices in war on terror", he said. "Nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan".

Matters of mutual interest, including the US policy in South Asia and Afghan peace efforts, were discussed during the meeting with Prime Minister Abbasi, according to Geo News.

A USA defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mattis' conversations had been "straightforward" and specific.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private meetings, said Mattis also made it clear that Pakistan must do its part to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with Afghanistan.

A senior USA official said the meetings were "straightforward", and that Mattis was very specific about what Pakistan needs to do to show it is taking action against the militants.

In a blunt assessment early last week, Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said there have been no changes in Pakistan's support for militant networks.

He said the USA defence secretary was told that Pakistan's fight against terrorism was greatly hindered by non-provision of F-16 fighter jets by the United States and that such measures limited their capacity [to fight terrorism]. -Canadian couple kidnapped in Afghanistan were freed in Pakistan in October with their three children. Some experts say the United States loses clout in Pakistan when it is seen as bullying.

Gul said relations between Pakistan and the US have gone from bad to worse since the Trump administration announced Afghan strategy in which Pakistan was degraded and India was elevated. "Pakistan shall do whatever is best in the national interest".

Mattis' brief visit to Islamabad comes a week after a hardline Pakistani Islamist group called off nationwide protests after the government met its demand that a minister accused of blasphemy resign.

His visit comes days after a Pakistan court ordered the release from house arrest of the November 26, 2008, Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed.

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