Vastavam web: U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday met Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders and urged them “redouble” their efforts to rein in militants accused of using the country as a base to carry out attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.More than 100 days since President Donald Trump announced a South Asia strategy that calls for a firmer line towards Islamabad, U.S. officials and analysts say there has been only limited success and it is not clear how progress will be made.
U.S. officials have long been frustrated by what they see as Pakistan’s reluctance to act against groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network that they believe exploit safe haven on Pakistani soil to launch attacks in Afghanistan.Mattis, who visited Pakistan for the first time as defence secretary, said before the trip that the goal for his meetings with Pakistani officials would be to find “common ground”.
In his discussion with Mattis, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the two allies shared objectives.Mattis also met with high-ranking officials from Pakistan’s powerful military, including army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lieutenant-General Naveed Mukhtar, the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency that U.S. officials say has links with Haqqani and Taliban militants.
In August, Trump outlined a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, chastising Pakistan over its alleged support for Afghan militants. But beyond that, the Trump administration has done little to articulate its strategy, experts say. “We have been very direct and very clear with the Pakistanis we have not seen those changes implemented yet,” General John Nicholson, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, said this week.