Defense secy Jim Mattis to visit Pakistan next week
Washington: US defense secretary Jim Mattis will visit Pakistan next week as part of a four-nation tour during which he is expected to pressure Islamabad to do more against militant groups.
During the tour, Mattis will visit Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Kuwait to re-affirm the enduring US' commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia, the Pentagon said.
Mattis would reach Pakistan on December 4, the second such trip after US President Donald Trump announced his South Asia strategy on August 21. Trump while announcing the strategy had criticised Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists. Pakistan denies sheltering the militants, and the issue has emerged as a major irritant to bilateral ties.
In October, Mattis had said the US would try "one more time" to work with Pakistan before taking "whatever steps are necessary" to address its alleged support for the militants.
During his Pakistan visit, Mattis is expected to meet Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.agencies