WASHINGTON: While underlining the probability of United States’ rewarding Pakistan in fight against terrorism, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says, however, there are also several ways for the US-led NATO member countries to hold Pakistan accountable for the same.
“But our principle, going into this, is that we are going to work with Pakistan and make this work, so that there’s no longer a threat coming across the border there,” he told reporters at the NATO headquarters in Brussels as quoted by the Times of India.
This is an international effort and not just an American- alone effort, he added.
He said the new South Asia strategy comprises of regionalisation, realigning of forces, reinforcing them and to reconciliation, the political goal.
“What we want to do is start with — from India to across the region — is to make certain that everyone’s working off the same sheet of music.
“We want to make certain that no terrorist organisation can find a haven anywhere, and, with a border adjoining Afghanistan, that makes Pakistan a priority,” Mattis said.
“We’re engaging a whole-of-government effort. We’ve got international efforts going on. And one of the reasons we brought it up here was to make certain we were all aligned about where we stood on this,” the US Defence Secretary said.
Trump, while announcing his South Asia policy in August, had criticised Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists. The Trump administration since then has been putting pressure on Pakistan to do more to rein in terror groups.
Referring to the discussions he had with other NATO member countries, Mattis said, “It was remarkable alignment about us all working together to get Pakistan to do everything it can to cut the insurgents off, the terrorists off.”
At the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting, Mattis said he and his colleagues were “orchestrating” their fight against terror and the next steps from Afghanistan to the Middle East.
Over the two days, I shared with them President Donald Trump’s South Asia strategy, which was very well received and firmly supported, he said.
Specifically to Afghanistan, the reconciliation remains the political goal of NATO’s military campaign and our comprehensive approach, Mattis said, adding that the Reconciliation must be Afghan-led, with an open door to the Taliban if they choose to stop killing and live by the Afghan constitution.
“This strategy, carried out by, with and through our Afghan partners and within the coalition framework ensures this regional campaign is politically, fiscally and militarily sustainable,” he said.
There is no military campaign that does not have a “political goal”, he added.