U.S. defense chief calls for deepening anti-terror cooperation with Pakistan

Pentagon acknowledges Pakistan's sacrifices in war against terrorism

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U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis met Pakistan's political and military leadership on his maiden visit to Islamabad on Monday, in yet another attempt to bridge deepening mistrust between the two allies.

This was concluded at the 206th Corps Commanders ' Conference held in Rawalpindi with army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the chair.

The office said in a statement that Mattis emphasized that in view of his long association with Pakistan, he was "keenly aware of the sacrifices rendered and the lives lost in Pakistan's fight against terrorism and extremism; and his personal respect and appreciation for the professional abilities of Pakistan's armed forces". We are still suffering very badly from the Afghan war.

His visit to Pakistan comes days after the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest.

Mattis told Pakistani officials that the USA was ready to play its role in addressing Pakistan's reservations.

They chose to continue efforts for Afghan peace.

En route to Pakistan Mattis told reporters he would not use pressure as a tactic, and insisted he would do "some listening". "I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground, and then we work together, so that's the approach I want to take".

But Mattis's comments were in contrast to more strident language from the Central Intelligence Agency chief at a security forum last weekend.

Refusing the concerns of neighbouring countries, he said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer project, which will benefit the entire region.

"If the USA could take these two steps, Pakistan would guarantee that its soil would never be used for any militant activities across the Afghan border", a source privy to the details of the meeting said.

Pakistan is confident that the United States will amend its South Asia strategy announced by President Trump in August this year.

Mattis' brief visit to Islamabad comes a week after a hardline Pakistani Islamist group called off nationwide protests after the government met its demand that a minister accused of blasphemy resign.

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