US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said on Saturday that indiscriminate action against terrorist safe havens inside the country are in regional and Pakistan’s interest.
The statement comes ahead of his scheduled visit to Pakistan today during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa and discuss regional security, peace, Afghan conflict and other bilateral issues.
In the statement issued Saturday, US Defence Secretary also said that Washington wants progress in Pak-US relations.
“In Afghanistan, we have heard from Pakistan leaders that they do not support terrorism. So I expect to see that sort of action reflected in their policies,” Mattis said during his visit to Egypt.
“They have said that they do not support havens for any terrorists, and Pakistan has taken significant casualties — both innocent people and their army. So we expect them to act in their own best interest, and in support of peace and regional stability,” he said.
“I’m making my first trip to Pakistan as secretary of Defence. The US remains committed to a pragmatic relationship that expands cooperation on shared interests while reinforcing President Trump’s call for action against terrorist safe havens,” he said.
“They know this. In many cases, they are. But what we’re looking for is to broaden the common ground and make certain that no terrorist organisation is seen as able to operate from a haven there,” he said.
Observing that 39 nations have troops on the ground in Afghanistan fighting terrorism, Mattis said the US was looking to make a common cause with them.
“There’s plenty of collaborative areas, right now, still in effect. There’s been some areas that we have lost over the years, because of disagreements about what we need to do,” he said.
He said Pakistan has also made clear its position repeatedly to the United States through the visit of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and through talks between other top officials of the two countries.
Pakistan has reservations about new US South Asia Strategy that is why the two countries are trying to find convergence on some issues. He claimed that the two countries have exchanged some concrete proposals outside the media glare to reach a common understanding on some issues.