WASHINGTON: US Secretary of Defense 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 on Monday (today) during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa regional security, peace, Afghan conflict and other bilateral issues.
In the statement issued Saturday, US Defense 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 defense. 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 are plenty of collaborative areas, right now, still in effect. There have been some areas that we have lost over the years, because of disagreements about what we need to do,” he said. INP