Islamabad : US Defence Secretary James Mattis has asked Pakistan to “redouble” its efforts to confront militants operating from its soil, reaffirming Washington’s concern that Islamabad has not done enough to combat terrorism.
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.
The defence secretary reiterated that Pakistan must “redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country,” the US Embassy in Islamabad said in a statement after Mattis concluded his maiden visit to the country, reports PTI.
Mattis recognised Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism. He emphasised the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the US and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that brings stability and security to the region, the statement said.
His visit to Pakistan comes days after the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest. The defence secretary also met Army chief Bajwa at the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi.
The meeting was focused on regional security with particular emphasis on Afghanistan as well as other matters of mutual interest, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement. Bajwa appreciated Mattis’ understanding of the underlying issues and said that Pakistan does not require anything from the US but understanding, the statement said. “We have eliminated safe havens from Pakistan’s soil but are prepared to look into the possibility of miscreants exploiting Pakistan’s hospitality to the Afghan Refugees to the detriment of our Afghan brothers,” it said.