Pentagon acknowledges Pakistan's sacrifices in war against terrorism
08 December, 2017, 01:21 | Author: Brenda Erickson
Mattis held separate meetings on Monday with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa to explore ways to effectively eliminate the threat of militancy.
In his discussion with Mattis, Abbasi said the two allies shared objectives.
Abbasi said both Pakistan and the US were working to establish peace in Afghanistan.
Mattis recognised Pakistan's sacrifices in the war against terrorism.
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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Pakistan and the US have been at odds over Pakistan's counter-terrorism strategies near the Afghan border and, hence, the US has no plans of lifting the freeze on coalition funds for Pakistan, US officials stated on Tuesday.
During meeting with the USA defence chief, it was decided that the dialogue process between the two countries would continue through diplomatic contacts. "We are not ready to be blamed for the failure of the U.S. in Afghanistan anymore", the official said.
Pakistani officials have pushed back on the USA accusations and say they have done a great deal to help the U.S. in tracking down militants. Any foreign action on Pakistani soil is not acceptable, Mattis was told. USA officials say they will not be able to assess if Pakistan has made progress and fulfilled its promises to prevent the Haqqanis from crossing into Afghanistan until then. Bajwa appreciated Mattis' understanding of the underlying issues and said that Pakistan does not require anything from the USA but understanding, the statement said.
But Mattis's comments were in contrast to more strident language from the Central Intelligence Agency chief at a security forum last weekend. However sources said the Pakistani leadership ruled out the possibility of the same. His fierce criticism sparked anti-US protests in Islamabad.
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