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

Pakistani soldiers walk at the premises of an Agriculture Training Institute after an attack by Taliban militants in Peshawar on Dec. 1 2017

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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.

Visiting Islamabad about a week after the White House asked Pakistan to immediately arrest and charge 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Saeed, in the absence of which it warned of repercussions, Mattis said he needs to talk to leaders in the country and gain their understanding.

Accompanied by senior officials from the USA 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 US official in less than a month. However sources said the Pakistani leadership ruled out the possibility of the same.

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"The COAS took the forum on board about his military diplomacy through his recent visits overseas and interaction with foreign dignitaries visiting Pakistan", according to a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Sources claimed that the meeting was held in a cordial environment and the U.S. side also acknowledged Pakistan's concerns regarding the Indian military presence in Afghanistan and even hinted at playing some role in the resolution of disputes between the two South Asian nuclear states, including the core issue of Kashmir.

"But at the same time, as the (Pakistan Army Chief) General (Qamar Javed Bajwa) has said, he wants no havens for terrorists anywhere, so we will work together and we'll find that common ground, if we have the will to".

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Chances for resumption of the stalled process went further dim following death of Mullah Omer's successor, Mullah Mansur in a US drone strike a year ago in southwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border. Pakistan had expressed strong reservations about the strategy which called for an increased role of India in Afghanistan.

He added that in his long association with Pakistan, he was aware of the sacrifices rendered and lives lost in Pakistan's fight against terrorism.

The two countries share strained bilateral relationships.

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