CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, has warned Pakistan that if it does not eliminate the alleged safe havens inside its territory, the United States will do “everything we can” to destroy them.
The warning came after he was asked at the Reagan National Defence Forum in Simi, California, on Saturday how the Trump administration would persuade Pakistan to adhere to its new Afghan strategy.
“You begin by seeking their assistance,” Pompeo said.
He noted that the US Defence Secretary James Mattis will be traveling to Pakistan to “make clear the president’s intent” and “will deliver the message that we would love you to do that. Pompeo said safe havens inside Pakistan has worked to the detriment of US capacity “to do what we needed to do in Afghanistan”.
He explained how the Trump’s administration would deal with the situation if Pakistan ignored US request “In the absence of the Pakistanis achieving that (ridding their country of insurgent bases), we are going to do everything we can to make sure that that safe-havens no longer exist.”
Mattis will visit Pakistan on Monday as part of a four-nation tour during which he is expected to pressure Islamabad to do more against militant groups.
During the tour, Mattis will visit Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Kuwait to re-affirm the enduring US commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia, the Pentagon said.
Mattis will arrive in Pakistan on December 4, the second such trip after US President Donald Trump announced his South Asia strategy on August 21. Trump, at the time, criticized Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists.
Pakistan denies sheltering the militants, and the issue has emerged as a major irritant to bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan.
In October Mattis said the US would try "one more time" to work with Pakistan before taking "whatever steps are necessary" to address its alleged support for the militants.
During his Pakistan visit, Mattis is expected to meet Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.