US to ‘firmly address’ Pak’s role in Afghanistan: Mattis

US to ‘firmly address’ Pak’s role in Afghanistan: Mattis
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Washington: The Trump Administration will “firmly” decide the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan so the country needs to hear NATO’s demand and rein in terror groups, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday.

Mattis said US President Donald Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia has been welcomed almost uniformly by leaders in the region as well as the 39 countries contributing troops to the NATO-led campaign.

Trump, while announcing the new strategy for Afghanistan, had criticised Pakistan for providing safe havens to terror outfits.

“We will firmly address Pakistan’s role. NATO s demands need to be heard and embraced in Islamabad,” Mattis said in his appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on South Asia.

Mattis, who just returned from his maiden trip to India, said, “We discussed ways to expand our collaboration to improve long-term regional stability and security.” His visit last week was, in part, to thank India for their continued, generous development support in Afghanistan.

He also travelled to the war-torn Afghanistan after India visit.

Mattis said hat the US is in Afghanistan to make America safer and ensure South Asia cannot be used to plot trans- national attacks against itself and its partners and allies.

“A political settlement in Afghanistan is only possible if the Taliban reject support or conduct of terrorism,” he said.