US has made ‘specific requests’ to Pakistan to act against terrorist groups: Tillerson

Kabul: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Islamabad on Tuesday, a day after stating that the US has made some “very specific requests” to Pakistan to take action to “undermine the support that the Taliban receives and other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan”.

Talking to journalists at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan on Monday, Tillerson said that in Pakistan he will discuss US demands for securing Afghanistan and its conditions for continuing their relationship.

“We have made some very specific requests of Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives and the other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan,” he said.

“And we’ve said in this whole strategy this is a conditions-based approach, and so our relationship with Pakistan will also be conditions-based. It will be based upon whether they take action that we feel is necessary to move the process forward of both creating the opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan, but also ensuring a stable future Pakistan,” he said.

“I think the US has made it clear in terms of our support for Afghanistan, support for a sovereign, unified, and democratic Afghanistan, charting a path to peace, prosperity, and self-reliance. It is imperative at the end that we are denying safe haven to any terrorist organizations or any extremists to any part of this – the world,” he said.

He said the US wants to work with regional partners to ensure that there are no threats in the region and that the strategy is a regional effort.

“So we’re demanding others also deny safe haven to terrorists anywhere in the region. We are working closely with Pakistan in that regard as well.”

He also said the US seeks a broader role for India not just in the South Asian area but beyond it as a strategic partner across the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our view of the relationship with India is one that’s of strategic importance not just for this specific region, but in the context of that speech it was about a free and open Indo-Pacific region stretching all the way to – from Japan to India,” Tillerson said. “So it’s a broader relationship.”

Earlier, he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other senior officials at the airbase.