WASHINGTON - Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday met his counterpart Rex Tillerson in Washington hours after the top US military officer accused Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of having ties with militant groups.
“It is clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,” Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
After Dunford remarks, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States would try “one more time” to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan before President Donald Trump would turn to options to address Islamabad’s alleged support for militant groups.
Relations between the two countries have been frayed over the past decade. While officials have long questioned the role Pakistan has played in Afghanistan, the comments by Mattis are likely to cause concern in Islamabad and within the Pakistan military.
“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,” Mattis said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
Mattis added that he would be traveling to Islamabad soon, but did not give more details.