WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan deepen their engagement with talks between both civil and military officials as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat arrives in the US capital to attend an international conference on counterterrorism.

In Islamabad, Pakistan will host US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday for the fourth round of talks aimed at rebuilding ties between the two countries which, until recently, were close allies in the war against terrorism.

In December, Islamabad will host yet another visitor, Defence Secretary James Mattis to review the reconciliation process that began with a meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and US Vice President Mike Pence in New York last month.

The decision to push forward the reconciliation process was taken at that meeting and led to Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s visit to Washington two weeks ago. Mr Asif not only met his counterpart — Secretary Tillerson — but also held in-depth talks with National Security Adviser Gen H.R. McMaster.

The third round of talks was held in Islamabad when an interagency US delegation visited the Pakistani capital with details of the new US strategy for South Asia announced by President Donald Trump on Aug 21.

On a separate platform, the United States invited Gen Hayat to Washington to attend the conference on counterterrorism, creating yet another opportunity for talks, now between defence officials of the two countries.

US policymakers believe that direct talks with Pakistani defence officials are necessary to address their main concern: seeking Pakistan’s assistance in the fight against militants along the Pak-Afghan border.

This will also be the focus of defence secretary’s talks in Islamabad, when he visits the city in December.

Mr Mattis told a Congressional panel early this month that the United States was reengaging Pakistan to support its efforts to win the Afghan war. “I would like to think we will be successful,” but that the United States “has an enormously powerful number of options” if the talks fail, he said.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2017

Opinion

Editorial

Debt deferment
Updated 26 Sep, 2022

Debt deferment

Pakistan’s dollar funding needs for next 5 years have never been so large and world’s appetite to hold its hands never so poor.
Dengue concerns
26 Sep, 2022

Dengue concerns

AS weather conditions change in Pakistan, the threat of dengue looms large over the land. According to a warning...
Relic of colonialism
26 Sep, 2022

Relic of colonialism

THE law on sedition, one of several holdovers of colonial times, is among the most handy instruments for controlling...
UNGA speech
25 Sep, 2022

UNGA speech

CRISES test a nation’s resilience but also provide opportunities to rise and move forward. Prime Minister Shehbaz...
Dar’s return
Updated 25 Sep, 2022

Dar’s return

Dar will now be expected by his party to conjure up fiscal space for the govt to start spending ahead of the next elections.
Iran hijab protests
25 Sep, 2022

Iran hijab protests

FOR over a week now, Iran has been witnessing considerable tumult after a young woman died earlier this month in the...