US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Pakistan on October 24 during the conflict with the bilateral relations based on Washington’s allegations that Islamabad is supposed to provide “safe havens” for Taliban fighters.
Tillerson was welcomed by a Pakistani Foreign Official and US Ambassador David Hale at the military airport in Rawalpindi, south of the capital, Islamabad, a welcome without the pomp, which usually accompanies high-ranking visits.
The trip was the first in Pakistan by a high-ranking official of the US administration of US President Donald Trump and came months after Trump Islamabad had accused of “agents of chaos” that the US-led NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan to attack.
There followed an unannounced stop in Afghanistan on October 23, when Tillerson reiterated America’s commitment to the country and warned that Washington had made “very specific demands” on Pakistan about militancy.
In Pakistan, Tillerson met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the powerful military chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and other top officials.
Tillerson “reaffirmed President Trump’s message that Pakistan must strengthen its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists in the country,” a statement from the US Embassy on 24 October.
Tillerson also expressed his appreciation for Pakistan for the victims of the fight against militancy and his help in securing the release of a US Canadian family imprisoned by the Taliban for five years.
“We are committed to the fight against terror, we have achieved results, and we look forward to pushing the US forward and building a tremendous relationship,” Abbasi said after a pool report.
Tillerson left Pakistan to India in the evening, less than four hours after his arrival.
Relations between unfriendly allies The United States and Pakistan have failed in recent years, accusing Washington of Islamabad of tolerating and even supporting Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network fighters who are attacking Afghanistan. Pakistan denies this. The relationship has deteriorated dramatically since Trump’s takeover in January.
Trump has sworn to be hard with Pakistan, unless it changed his behavior, and US officials threatened further cuts in aid and targeted targeted sanctions against Pakistani officials.
As one of 16 “non-NATO main allies,” Pakistan benefits from billions of aid and has access to advanced US military technology banned from other countries.