Pakistan rejects USA demand for joint operation on its soil

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

Mattis met prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his brief stopover in the capital Islamabad. For several years, Pakistan has banked on aid from the USA but in recent times, it is China that has become closer courtesy financial investments and military assistance.

A day after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' meeting with Pakistan's officials in Islamabad, Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, said that Islamabad had been assured that there would be no military role for India in Afghanistan.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis, during his maiden visit to Pakistan yesterday, asked Islamabad to "redouble" its efforts to confront militants operating from its soil, reaffirming Washington's concern that Islamabad has not done enough to combat terrorism.

While there may not be any free lunches in this world, Pakistan continues to nearly rever China - a fact underlined by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday when he said the focus of Pakistan's foreign policy must shift away from the USA and onto China.

Pakistani officials have pushed back on the U.S. accusations and say they have done a great deal to help the United States in tracking down militants.

The office said in a statement that Mattis emphasized 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". "We are not putting forward any demands to Pakistan, but we want to work together", the report said.

But Mattis's comments were in contrast to more strident language from the Central Intelligence Agency chief at a security forum last weekend.

The impasse showed no signs of easing up even after Defence Secretary James Mattis visited Islamabad on Monday. However sources said the Pakistani leadership ruled out the possibility of the same.

In a speech in August presenting his war strategy for Afghanistan, Trump accused Pakistan of hosting "agents of chaos" and said that its approach would have to change "immediately".

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