Pentagon adopts reconcialatory tone for Pakistan
WASHINGTON - Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W White has said that no one has lost more troops and lives to terrorism than Pakistan.
She acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices, as she spoke on Thursday during a US Department of Defence press briefing, along with David L Norquist, Undersecretary of Defence, Comptroller.
“The secretary [Jim Mattis] had very fruitful conversations about where they — we can find common ground. As he said, you know, no one has lost more troops and lives to terrorism than the Pakistanis. So again, this is about broadening our relationship and looking for opportunities,” said White when asked what kind of assurances Mattis received from Pakistan over redoubling its effort in the fight against terrorism.
“And I think there are opportunities. I think his trip showed that. We will give you more, but again it’s a conversation that’s about common ground,” she added.
“What’s that common ground”, asked the reporter, Pentagon chief spokesperson continued, “Again, terrorism. I mean, the threat of terrorism — I mean everyone has — Pakistan has an interest in ensuring that terrorism is defeated. They’ve lost thousands of troops, and they’ve lost thousands of innocents as well.”
“So it’s in the interests of Pakistan, the US, [and] the region to ensure that we can encourage that Afghanistan has a political reconciliation. So we’ll look for ways to work with Pakistanis to find that common ground and move forward.”
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis met Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders on December 4 and urged them to “redouble” their efforts to rein in militants accused of using the country as a base to carry out attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.
In his discussion with Mattis, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said the two allies shared objectives. “We’re committed (to) the war against terror,” he said and reiterated that “Nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan.”
Mattis, on a one-day visit to Pakistan, also met army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lieutenant-General Naveed Mukhtar, the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).