Pakistan, US can play important role in Afghan peace process: Mattis

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Hours before landing at Islamabad, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that he intends to work hard to find common ground with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.

The statement comes ahead of his scheduled visit to Pakistan on Monday.

The defense secretary will then travel to Pakistan, Dec. 4, where he is planning to meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Bajwa.

Also discussing ways to improve U.S. -Egypt partnership in the defense sector, the duo agreed on the need to increase global efforts to eradicate terrorism resources, and to find a political resolution to the crises in the Middle East, the statement said.

In his meeting with PM Abbasi earlier today, Mattis said that the U.S. wants to take its longstanding ties forward with Pakistan and a common way needs to be found for continuous ties with Pakistan.

The White House, in a statement, had said: "The United States strongly condemns the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Haft Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan and calls for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution".

President Donald Trump has warned Pakistan that the USA "will not be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorists" and that "it has much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists".

USA officials have always been frustrated by what they see as Pakistan's reluctance to act against groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network that they believe exploit safe havens on Pakistani soil to launch attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan.

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