Mattis Visits Pakistan Amid Concerns Over 'Terrorist Safe Havens'

05 December 2017, 01:47 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Mattis prods Pak on terror

Destroy terror havens or we'll: CIA to Pak

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meets with Egypt's Minister of Defense Gen. Sedky Sobhy in Cairo, Egypt on Saturday. Asked if Mattis set any timelines, the official said the urgency of the matter was communicated. And it said Abbasi appreciates "the USA resolve not to allow the use of Afghan soil against Pakistan".

Saeed heads the UN-listed terrorist group Jamaat-ud-Dawa and has a $10 million United States bounty on his head.

The Prime Minister reiterated there are no safe havens in Pakistan and the entire nation was committed to its resolve on eradicating terrorism once and for all in all its forms and manifestations.

The Pakistani foreign ministry last week admitted there was a difference of opinion between the two countries on issues relating to terrorism and security but a series of meetings had been planned to reach a common ground.

President Donald Trump first signalled that the USA was reassessing its fractious relations with Pakistan during a televised speech in August, launching a blistering attack on Islamabad for harbouring "agents of chaos".

The encounter was also attended by Pakistani Minister of Defense Khurram Dastgir; of Foreign Affairs, Khawaja Asif, and of the Interior Ahsan Iqbal, as well as the National Security Advisor, Nasser Khan Janjua, and the Director General of the Intelligence Service, Naveed Mukhtar.

Visiting US Defence Secretary James Mattis on Monday arrived in Islamabad on his first-ever official visit carrying with him a strong message of Trump administration seeking a reinvigorated, consistent and long-term relationship with Pakistan.

Bajwa, in a statement, said Mattis expressed concern about militants in Pakistan trying to "further their terrorist agenda" in Afghanistan, and said he is "prepared to look into the possibility of miscreants exploiting Pakistan's hospitality".

The top USA commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, said last week that Pakistan had yet to take significant actions against the groups and that senior Taliban leadership resides in Pakistan.

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"They identified certain steps that they were going to take".

"We have not seen those changes implemented yet", he told reporters.

Chances for resumption of the stalled process went further dim following death of Mullah Omer's successor, Mullah Mansur in a USA drone strike previous year in southwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border.

Imtiaz Gul, an Islamabad security analyst, said USA officials always come to Islamabad with their "own wish list".

"Secretary Mattis recognized Pakistan's sacrifices in the war against terrorism".

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.

Mattis' trip aims "to re-affirm the enduring U.S. commitment to partnerships" in the region, according to a press release by the U.S. Department of Defense.

President Donald Trump's tough words about Pakistan as he unveiled the updated USA strategy for the war in Afghanistan, infuriated Islamabad and triggered anti-U.S. protests there that Pakistani police had to use tear gas to disperse.



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