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Act Against Terror Havens or We Will, CIA Chief Warns Pakistan Ahead of Mattis Visit

The CIA chief’s comments came days ahead of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s visit to Pakistan where he will seek common ground on the counterterrorism fight, amid Donald Trump administration calls for Islamabad to more aggressively go after terror groups.

News18.com

Updated:December 4, 2017, 1:59 PM IST
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New Delhi: CIA director Mike Pompeo has issued a stern warning to Pakistan, saying that if Islamabad fails to act against terror havens on its soil, the American intelligence agency “will do everything it can to ensure they don't exist anymore".

“In the absence of the Pakistanis achieving that, we are going to do everything we can to make sure that that safe haven no longer exists," Voice of America Radio quoted Pompeo as saying at an event in California on Saturday.

The CIA chief’s comments came days ahead of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s visit to Pakistan where he will seek common ground on the counterterrorism fight, amid Donald Trump administration calls for Islamabad to more aggressively go after terror groups.

Visiting Islamabad about a week after the White House asked Pakistan to immediately charge and arrest the 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, Mattis said he needs to talk to leaders in the country and gain their understanding.

Saeed is still roaming free, despite tough warning from the Trump Administration.

Mattis is the first top US official to visit Pakistan after the completion of the first 100 days of the new South Asia Strategy that was announced by President Donald Trump on August 21.

Asked if he was going to press the Pakistani leaders to take more action against terrorists, Mattis said: "That's not the way I deal with issues. I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground and then we work together."

Mattis' optimism, however, comes despite persistent US assertions that Islamabad is still not doing enough to battle the Taliban and allied Haqqani network within its borders.

Since the start of the war in Afghanistan, militants in Pakistan have crossed the mountainous and ill-defined border to wage attacks against US, Afghan and allied forces. They then would return to their safe havens in Pakistan, where they have had a long-standing relationship with the ISI, Islamabad's intelligence agency.

The White House has also condemned Pakistan's release late last month of a Hafiz Saeed, a US-wanted terrorist and 2008 Mumbai attacks plotter, as a "step in the wrong direction" and warned that it could harm Islamabad's relations with America and its reputation around the world.


In August, the US said it would hold up $255 million in military assistance for Pakistan until it cracks down on terror havens.
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