Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

USA defense secretary meets Pakistan's prime minister

USA defense secretary meets Pakistan's prime minister

A Pentagon spokesperson on Monday said that the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was in Islamabad on a day-long visit, has acknowledged Pakistan's sacrifices in war against terrorism.

Top military leadership met on Tuesday to discuss internal and regional security developments in a Corps Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi, chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In his discussion with Mattis, Abbasi said the two allies shared objectives.

The visit, Mattis's first as defence secretary, came days after the USA voiced concerns following a Pakistani court's decision to free one of the alleged masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and as the U.S. pushes its longtime ally to do more to combat insurgents who allegedly use bases in Pakistan's tribal belt to target North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan.

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Secondly, Washington has been told to play its role in the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, a step that would ensure no militants can hide in the garb of refugees on the Pakistani soil.

They made a decision to continue efforts for Afghan peace. "We are not ready to be blamed for the failure of the United States in Afghanistan anymore", the official said.

Pakistan denies the charge and accuses Kabul of allowing militants to use its soil for attacking Pakistani security forces and civilians.

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

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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 U.S. and onto China.

Pakistan had brokered a landmark round of direct talks between the fragile Afghan government, and the Taliban in Islamabad in July 2015, but the process broke down after the Taliban announced the death of their long-term leader, Mullah Omer, triggering a bitter power struggle within the militant group.

When asked about USA efforts to push Pakistan to clear safe havens, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo suggested Washington was prepared to move if its ally failed to act.

Pakistan is confident that the United States will amend its South Asia strategy announced by President Trump in August this year.

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