Tillerson urges Pakistan to step up action against terrorist 'safe havens'

Published October 24, 2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during his visit at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. —AFP
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during his visit at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. —AFP

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Islamabad on Tuesday (today) where he would be telling Pakistani officials that their cooperation in fighting extremists and driving them from hideouts on their territory is imperative to a good relationship with the US.

Talking to media persons during his visit to Afghanistan, Tillerson also delivered a blunt warning to Pakistan, insisting that Islamabad must step up action against terrorist groups that have allegedly found safe haven within its borders.

“Clearly, we have to continue to fight against the Taliban, against others, in order for them to understand they will never win a military victory,” Tillerson told a small group of reporters allowed to accompany him from the Qatari capital of Doha.

“We also want to work with regional partners to ensure that there are no threats in the region,” he said.

“This is very much a regional effort as you saw. It was rolled out in the strategy itself, demanding that others deny safe haven to terrorists anywhere in the region. We are working closely with Pakistan as well.”

“It will be based upon whether they take action that we feel is necessary to move the process forward for both creating opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan but also ensuring a stable future Pakistan,” he said.

“Pakistan needs to, I think, take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they are confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organisations that find safe haven inside of Pakistan. So we want to work closely Pakistan to create a more stable and secure Pakistan as well.”

In August Tillerson warned an angry Pakistan that it could lose its status as a privileged military ally if it continued giving safe haven to Afghan militant groups.

Islamabad has long denied Washington's accusation it is helping the Taliban, adding that the claim belittles the thousands of lives it has lost and billions it has spent in fighting militancy.

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