U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in Egypt on Saturday as part of a tour of the Middle East.
"So this is an effort by the new American administration, to go in and set the conditions for future collaboration that leads to reconciliation in Afghanistan and a denial of safe havens for any terrorist group that would attack anyone in the region or elsewhere in the world, which a number of countries have suffered from", Mattis said. Early this week, Gen John Nicholson, the commander of the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan, rued that Pakistan has not been able to carry out the counterterrorism actions which it promised to the Trump administration after the announcement of the new South Asia Strategy.
Mattis departed today on a five-day trip to reaffirm the enduring USA commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia, Defense Department officials said. They then would return to their safe havens in Pakistan, where they have had a long-standing relationship with the ISI, Islamabad's intelligence agency. "I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground and then we work together".
Observing that 39 nations have troops on the ground in Afghanistan fighting terrorism, Mattis said the U.S. was looking to make a common cause with them. "We've not yet seen those steps play out", Nicholson told reporters in a recent briefing.
"We're hoping to see those changes", he said. The US is also outraged at the release of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said during a visit to Washington in October that Pakistan was willing to cooperate fully with the Trump administration.
Reportedly, the defence secretary was asked en route to Kuwait if he would prod Pakistan, to address its alleged support for the militants, when he visits there.