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Pakistan Gives Tillerson Frosty Welcome After US Warns Over Taliban Havens

Pakistan Gives Tillerson Frosty Welcome After US Warns Over Taliban HavensPakistan Gives Tillerson Frosty Welcome After US Warns Over Taliban Havens

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson got a frosty welcome to Pakistan Tuesday after Washington turned up the heat on Islamabad for allegedly providing “safe havens” for Taliban militants.

America’s top diplomat was quietly greeted by a mid-level Pakistani Foreign Office official at the military airport in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, an AFP photographer saw—a welcome devoid of the pomp that usually marks high-level visits, AFP reported.

He was then driven in a convoy of Land Cruisers amid tight security to the US embassy in Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave, before scheduled meetings with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the powerful military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The secretary’s visit, the first to nuclear-armed Pakistan by a senior Trump administration official, comes months after the US President angrily accused Islamabad of harboring “agents of chaos” who could attack US-led NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

It follows on the heels of an unannounced stop in Afghanistan Monday, where Tillerson reiterated America’s commitment to the country and warned that Washington has made “very specific requests” of Pakistan seeking to “undermine the support that the Taliban receives”.

Washington and Kabul have long accused Islamabad of supporting Afghan militant groups including the Taliban. They are believed to have links to Pakistan’s shadowy military establishment, which aims to use them as a regional bulwark against arch-nemesis India.

 

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