US Defence Secy Mattis arrives in Pak

Aaron Brown
December 5, 2017

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi received U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis today, with whom he analyzed the state of bilateral relations, resented by Washington " s statements against this country.

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

Abbasi said both Pakistan and the USA were working to establish peace in Afghanistan.

While in Islamabad, Secretary Mattis met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister of Defense Khurram Dastigir Khan, according to a readout provided by the U.S. Defense Department.

"On one hand, yes, they do not like terrorism, or attacks from terrorism in their country".

Mattis did not speak while reporters were present.

The Prime Minister was assisted by Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Interior as well as senior officials from the respective ministries. Asked if Mattis set any timelines, the official said the urgency of the matter was communicated.

"To maintain such a relationship, the two sides need to build up trust in each other", Asif quoted Secretary Mattis as saying at the meetings.

A statement from Abbasi's office said the prime minister talked about recent counterterrorism operations and said Pakistan "would continue to conduct intelligence based operations all over the country". The Prime Minister also appreciated the U.S. 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 USA bounty on his head.

It was Mattis' first trip to Pakistan as secretary.

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"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.

Mattis landed at an air force base in the garrison city of Rawalpindi bordering Islamabad, according to a pool report, before heading to the USA embassy.

The Prime Minister reiterated that 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 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.

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.

He said the USA has been direct about its expectations from Pakistan.

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

The defense secretary was also briefed on efforts and measures taken to secure the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Gul said relations between Pakistan and the USA have gone from bad to worse since the Trump administration announced Afghan strategy in which Pakistan was degraded and India was elevated.

President Donald Trump's strategy for the 16-year-old conflict in Afghanistan takes a regional approach and prioritizes Pakistan's role in sheltering the Taliban and allied Haqqani network. He is traveling to Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Kuwait to re-affirm the US commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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