US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has paid a visit to Islamabad, capital city of Pakistan to ask the country for effectively counterterrorism effort. The US Defense Secretary met with Pakistan officials and discussed safe havens of terrorists including Taliban and Haqqani Network in Pakistan soil and asked the country to change its policy regarding terrorists’ safe havens.
Before his trip to Islamabad, Mattis said: “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.”
Washington in past had also put pressure on Pakistan for providing safe havens and supporting Taliban and Haqqani network. Since the start of the war in Afghanistan, militants in Pakistan have crossed the mountainous and ill-defined border to wage attacks against US, Afghan, and allied forces. They then would return to their safe havens in Pakistan, where they have had a long-standing relationship with the ISI, the Pakistan intelligence agency, but Pakistan is rejecting the claim. US President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists and pledged if Pakistan did not change its policies, it would face serious step by the US administration. US Defense Secretary in his meetings with Pakistan officials stressed on President Trump’s demand for action against safe havens of terrorist groups.
The US defense secretary trip to Islamabad came amid increasing of US pressures on Pakistan for action against Taliban and Haqqani network.
According to NATO RS commander to Afghanistan Gen. Nicholson, there have been no changes in Pakistan’s support for militant networks.
“They identified certain steps that they were going to take. We’ve not yet seen those steps play out,” Gen. Nicholson said in his recent briefing. He said the US has been very direct about what it expects Pakistan to do in the fight against the Taliban.
Pakistan has not taken any step in destroying terrorist centers in its soil. Instead, the country has recently released leader of Laskhar-e-Tayeba Hafiz Saeed. The US administration has warned if Hafiz Saeed was not detained again, the country would face with serious outcomes. , in case that Pakistan by depending on its new regional allies was determined to resisting on its previous stance against US and Washington’s new strategy and kept on supporting terrorists, the issue will further weaken strategic formulas ruling on current situation in diplomacy and security of the region in particular Afghanistan.
Decisions and policies of Pakistan will show what policy will be followed by the country in connection with war in Afghanistan. The US administration suspended $ 255 million military assistance to Pakistan in August of the current year until the country starts action against terrorists in its soil. It is worth mentioning that Mattis’ trip to Pakistan comes at the end of a short trip to the region, including stops in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait.