WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has said that no other country has lost more troops and lives to terrorism than Pakistan.
Acknowledging Pakistan’s sacrifices during a US Department of Defence press briefing on Thursday, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W White said, “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.”
“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.
When asked by a reporter about the “common ground”, White 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 Dec 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 Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Naveed Mukhtar.