Mattis Visits Pakistan Amid Concerns Over 'Terrorist Safe Havens'

Mattis Visits Pakistan Amid Concerns Over 'Terrorist Safe Havens'

It was Mattis' first trip to Pakistan as secretary.

When asked if he would "prod" Islamabad to take more action, he replied: "That's not the way I deal with issues".

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. A day earlier, Mattis had told reporters that during his time in Islamabad he would look for "common ground" between America and Washington.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pressed top Pakistani leaders Monday to "redouble" efforts to go after insurgents operating in safe havens, the Pentagon said, underscoring a long frustration with Islamabad over Taliban-linked militants that freely cross the border to conduct attacks against the USA and allies in Afghanistan.

According to the text, Abbasi reiterated the need to find a negotiated solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and armed groups control 40 percent of the national territory, despite the presence of thousands of USA soldiers and other nations.

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.

Mattis had also said that his discussions with the leadership in Islamabad will also focus on US President Donald Trump's South Asia policy which was announced in September.

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

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.

Mattis met with Abbasi and army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, as well as a number of senior Pakistani leaders and military officials and U.S. Ambassador David Hale.

Last week, the commander of U.S forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, said Islamabad had not carried out the "clear" demands made by Washington.

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. "We've not yet seen those steps play out", Nicholson told reporters in a recent briefing.

President Donald Trump's tough words about Pakistan as he unveiled the updated US 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.

In a stern warning to Pakistan, CIA Director Mike Pompeo has said that if Pakistan does not get its act together and dismantle the terrorist safe havens on its territory, the United States will "do everything" to see that these sanctuaries no longer exist. 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.

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