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

08 December 2017
US Assured Pakistan Of 'No Indian Military Role In Afghanistan'

A day before the Mattis arrived in Islamabad, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo had warned Pakistan that if it does not eliminate the alleged safe havens inside its territory, the United States would do "everything we can" to destroy them.

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.

Abbasi, for his part, underlined the need for a broad based engagement to strengthen partnership and enhance cooperation between the two countries, adding that no other country benefits more from peace and stability in Afghanistan than Pakistan.

A day after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' meeting with Pakistan's officials in Islamabad, Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, said that Islamabad had been assured that there would be no military role for India in Afghanistan.

Mattis, who held talks with the Pakistani civil and military leadership on Monday, said the goal of his visit was to find common grounds in order to create a positive, consistent and long-term relationship with Pakistan.

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.

Pakistan denies the charge and accuses Kabul of allowing militants to use its soil for attacking Pakistani security forces and civilians. The defence secretary also met Army chief Bajwa at the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi.

A United States defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mattis's conversations had been "straightforward" and specific.

A statement released later on Monday from Abbasi's office echoed the term "common ground", and said Mattis had emphasised he was "keenly aware" of the thousands of lives Pakistan has lost in its long battle with militancy.

Refusing the concerns of neighbouring countries, he said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer project, which will benefit the entire region.