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US Secretary of State arrive today in Islamabad

24 October, 2017

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BAGRAM AIR BASE: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday said he is traveling to Islamabad on Tuesday (today) to reinforce President Donald Trump administration’s demand that Islamabad move against the Taliban and other extremists based inside its borders or face the consequences.

“We have made some very specific requests of Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support the Taliban receives and other terrorist organizations receive,” he told a brief news conference after his meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during his unreported visit to Afghanistan.

“US policy toward Islamabad will be based upon whether they take action that we feel is necessary to move the process forward for both creating opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan but also ensuring a stable future for Pakistan,” he continued. Islamabad needed to “take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they are confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organisations that find safe haven inside” the country, he said. “We want to work closely [with] Pakistan to create a more stable and secure Pakistan as well.” Tillerson said he would then travel to India to discuss a request that it expand its economic and development assistance to Afghanistan.

Tillerson spent almost three hours in a heavily guarded building in the main US military facility in Afghanistan, most of the time in talks with President Ashraf Ghani and other US and Afghan officials.

A small group of US media accompanying the former ExxonMobil CEO on his first official visit to Afghanistan were prohibited for security reasons from filing dispatches, photographs and video until they returned to Qatar.

While there have been no recent attacks on the airbase by Taliban insurgents, the sprawling facility north of Kabul has been regularly hit since the 2001 US invasion by rockets, mortars and explosives-laden vehicles.

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