Pakistan raises concerns over Indian use of Afghan soil with US defence secretary

Pakistan raises concerns over Indian use of Afghan soil with US defence secretary

ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of Defence James Mattis called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and highlighted Pakistan’s concerns emanating from Indian use of Afghan soil, said a statement released from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Mattis said that Pakistan has done much more than its due share despite capacity constraints but shall remain committed for peace as a responsible member of the international community.

The US defence secretary reiterated Pakistan’s support for peace and stability in the region and the necessity and right of Afghan refugees for a respectable and early repatriation.

He also discussed the existence of terrorist safe havens across the border in Afghanistan with the army chief.

Mattis, on the occasion, assured the army chief that the US is ready to play its role in addressing Pakistan’s legitimate concerns, saying he wanted to find common ground rather than make demands.

General Bajwa appreciated the visiting dignitary’s understanding of the underlying issues and said Pakistan does not require anything from the US but understanding.

However, the defence secretary expressed concern that some elements continue to use Pakistani territory to further their terrorist agenda in Afghanistan.

“We have eliminated safe havens from Pakistan's soil but are prepared to look into the possibility of miscreants exploiting Pakistan's hospitality to the Afghan refugees to the detriment of our Afghan brothers," ISPR quoted the army chief as saying.

General Bajwa and Secretary Mattis agreed to work towards specific and sustained actions on each other's concerns, added ISPR.

The visiting US dignitary also expressed his respect for the Pakistan armed forces and the operations conducted against terrorists.

The meeting was focused on regional security with particular emphasis on Afghanistan as well as other matters of mutual interest.