Senior US officials are expected to visit Islamabad at the end of this month and earlier next month amid reports the officials will deliver tough message by President Donald Trump to the Pakistani officials regarding the circumstances surrounding the fight against terrorism.
US and Pakistani officials privy of the scheduled visit are saying that the senior US officials expected to visit Islamabad include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
The officials have told AFP that Secretary Tillerson will arrive in Islamabad later this month while Secretary Mattis’s visit is scheduled for the next month.
According to the officials, the two senior US officials will deliver the message by President Trump that the alleged Pakistani state support for militant groups has to end.
This comes as Pakistani foreign minister Khawajah Asif last week visited Washington amid reports he was invited by Secretary Tillerson for bilateral talks.
However, reports indicate that the tensions still remain high between the two nations, mainly due to the safe havens of the terror groups in Pakistan.
Secretary Mattis earlier had warned that President Donald Trump is prepared to take whatever actions are necessary if Washington’s efforts fail to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan.
Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee on last week, Mattis said Washington considers to try one more time to work with Pakistan.
He said “We need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them, by, with and through the Pakistanis, and if our best efforts fail, the president is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary.”
Relations and ties between Islamabad and Washington have deteriorated since President Trump announced the new US strategy for South Asia and strongly criticized Pakistan for sheltering the terrorist groups.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States General Joseph Dunford also confirmed last week that the military intelligence of Pakistan’s military, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), has connections with the terror group. -KP