'Common ground' theme in testy US-Pakistan ties

Pakistani soldiers walk at the premises of an Agriculture Training Institute after an attack by Taliban militants in Peshawar on Dec. 1 2017

US Assured Pakistan Of 'No Indian Military Role In Afghanistan'

While telling Defence Secretary James Mattis that enough is enough, Pakistan had told the visiting dignitary that its hands were tied up in the fight against terrorism and would no more accept the oft-repeated mantra of "do more" against alleged safe havens in the country, Roznama Express has learnt.

Accompanied by senior officials from the US defense and state departments, Mattis met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, separately, during his day-long visit, the second tour of a high profile USA official in less than a month.

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

Citing the U.S. war in Afghanistan has taken a big toll on Pakistan, Asif said stability in the region is key to prosperity.

His visit to Pakistan comes days after the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest.

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.

Pakistan has consistently rejected claims it supports Taliban-allied forces, insisting it maintains contacts with insurgents only as a means to bring them to the table for peace talks. "We are not ready to be blamed for the failure of the U.S. in Afghanistan anymore", the official said. "We are not putting forward any demands to Pakistan, but we want to work together", the report said.

But Mattis's comments were in contrast to more strident language from the Central Intelligence Agency chief at a security forum last weekend.

"If the U.S. could take these two steps, Pakistan would guarantee that its soil would never be used for any militant activities across the Afghan border", a source privy to the details of the meeting said.

In a speech in August presenting his war strategy for Afghanistan, Trump accused Pakistan of hosting "agents of chaos" and said that its approach would have to change "immediately".

President Donald Trump first signalled that the United States was reassessing its fractious relations with Pakistan in August when he accused Islamabad of harbouring "agents of chaos".

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