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US told that Pakistan is not a safe haven for terrorists: Khawaja Asif

Updated October 25, 2017

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Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Sath - 24 October 2017

Following the meeting between Pakistani officials and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Islamabad on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif ─ who was a member of the Pakistani delegation ─ said that the American delegation was informed that Washington's allegations against Pakistan of offering safe havens to terrorists and protecting the Haqqani network are incorrect.

During a short four-hour trip to Islamabad, Tillerson had held joint talks with the civil and military leadership.

Speaking on Geo News' late night show Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Key Saath, Asif said that Islamabad wanted to show that all institutions in the country have the same message.

When asked whether the joint talks were held with the visiting secretary due to a time crunch or, rather, in order to send out a united message to Washington, he said, "This was our deliberate decision ─ to hold talks on a single platform ─ so that Washington knows the leadership is united in the message it is sending across," Asif said.

According to the foreign minister, the Pakistani delegation had told the visiting US officials during the talks that Pakistan is fighting the war against terrorism for its own benefit.

If peace is established in Afghanistan as a result of the war against terrorism, then Pakistan will also benefit but "we are the first beneficiaries of this war," Asif added.

"We have to establish peace in our country, in our region," Asif said, adding that Pakistani officials had urged the American delegation to look at the "geography of Afghanistan."

Asif said that 55 per cent of the Afghan territory is not in the government's control and members of the Islamic State and the Taliban have seized control.

"They [the militants] do not need sanctuaries on our land," Asif said, adding that contrary to what Washington believes, terrorist planning and execution of terrorist acts are not carried out in Pakistan.

The minister said that improving the situation in Afghanistan so that refugees living in Pakistan could return to their home country, is America's responsibility. "We are engaged in border management."