WASHINGTON - – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated on Tues. the USA would try â€œone more timeâ€� to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan before President Donald Trump would turn to choices to address Islamabadâ€™s asserted support for militant groups.
Relations between the 2 countries have been frayed over the past decade. While officers have long questioned the role Pakistan has played in Afghanistan, the feedback by Mattis are more likely to cause concern in Islamabad & inside the Pakistan military.
â€œWe need to try another time to make this strategy work with them, by, with and thru the Pakistanis, & if our greatest efforts fail, the president is ready to take no matter steps are mandatory,â€� Mattis stated at a Home Armed Services Committee hearing.
Mattis added in that he can be traveling to Islamabad soon, still didn’t give more details.
Reuters 1st reported in that potential Trump administration responses being mentioned embody expanding U.S. drone strikes and maybe eventually downgrading Pakistanâ€™s standing as a serious non-NATO ally.
When asked by a lawmaker whether or not revoking Pakistanâ€™s major non-NATO ally standing was amongst the choices being thought-about to deal with Islamabad, Mattis stated: â€œI am positive it is going to be.â€�
In a separate Senate hearing on Tues., the top U.S. military officer stated he believed Pakistanâ€™s main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, had ties to militant groups.
â€œIt is conspicuous to me in that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,â€� Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Pakistan embassy in Washington stated Islamabad had achieved success in counter-terrorism operations in its country.
â€œHowever, unless the same level of success is achieved in (Afghanistan), long lasting peace within the region will stay out of reach,â€� the embassy stated in a press release.
America in 2012 designated the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a terrorist organization. The- yr before, U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, then the top U.S. military officer, induced a stir when he told Congress in that the Haqqani network was a â€œveritable armâ€� of the ISI directorate.
U.S. officers have told Reuters in that the USA will send about three,500 further troops to Afghanistan.
Dunford stated in that the present value for america in Afghanistan was about $12.5 billion a yr, & the brand new strategy would value a further $1.1 billion.
Reporting by Idrees Ali & Phil Stewart; Editing by Michael Perry; Editing by James Dalgleish & Cynthia Osterman