Mattis seeks more cooperation with Pakistan on terror fight

Mattis seeks more cooperation with Pakistan on terror fight

Mattis seeks more cooperation with Pakistan on terror fight

Amid Washington's concerns over "terrorist safe havens" in Pakistan, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in the country December 4 to shore up bilateral ties that have seen a marked downslide in the past few months.

But other US officials have continued to assert that Pakistan has not taken sufficient action, despite repeated meetings with USA military officials and a visit from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson one month ago.

Mattis meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during a visit to Islamabad, Dec. 4, 2017.

Mattis was received by officials from the Defence Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the US Embassy upon his arrival, a Foreign Office statement said.

Pakistani army officials said that they told Mattis that "Pakistan has done much more than its due share despite capacity constraints" and that Mattis told them that his aim was "not to make demands".

Recalling the longstanding relationship with the United States, the Prime Minister underlined the need for a broadbased engagement to strengthen partnership and enhance cooperation between the two countries.

"We have eliminated safe havens from Pakistan's soil but are prepared to look into the possibility of miscreants exploiting Pakistan's hospitality to the Afghan refugees to the detriment of out Afghan brothers", the statement reads.

Ahead of his visit, Mattis said the USA would "work hard on finding common ground" and "work together" with Pakistan.

"I hope that Mike (Pompeo) and Jim Mattis are successful in making clear to the Pakistanis that got to be able to see a little broader and they have to go after terrorists within their own territory. But at the same time, they don't mind using terrorism as leverage to deal with Afghanistan and to deal with India", Panetta said, remarking which was why Pakistan "has always been a question mark".

Since the start of the war in Afghanistan, militants in Pakistan have crossed the mountainous and ill-defined border to wage attacks, then return to safe havens in Pakistan, where they have had a long-standing relationship with the ISI, Islamabad's intelligence agency.

He said Pakistani leaders went to Kabul and met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. "We've not yet seen those steps play out", Nicholson told reporters in a recent briefing.

"We have been very direct and very clear with the Pakistanis. we have not seen those changes implemented yet", General John Nicholson, the top USA general in Afghanistan, said last week.

His visit comes as CIA Director Mike Pompeo has in a stern warning said if Islamabad does not eliminate terrorist "safe havens" in its territory, the US will do "everything" it can to destroy them.

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

Mattis emphasised that in view of his long association with Pakistan, he was keenly aware of the sacrifices rendered and the lives lost in Pakistan's fight against terrorism and extremism; and his personal respect and appreciation for the professional abilities of Pakistan's armed forces. He is traveling to Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Kuwait to re-affirm the USA commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia.

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.

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