Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on his first visit to Pakistan in that role, called on its top military and civilian officials Monday to “redouble” efforts to prevent Islamist militants from using the country as a refuge and a launchpad for attacks on Afghanistan and elsewhere.
But Mattis seemed to tone down the sharp language he has used in congressional hearings and other settings to accuse Pakistan of harboring Afghan Taliban fighters. Instead, he adopted a milder, more diplomatic approach aimed at finding “common ground.”
Statements from the Pakistani prime minister’s office and the Pentagon late Monday, after Mattis had left the country, described his interactions with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the defense minister, and military and intelligence chiefs in positive, bland terms.
The U.S. Embassy said he praised Pakistan’s “sacrifices in the war against terrorism” while insisting that it “must redouble its efforts to confront” militants within its borders.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Pamela Constable