Pakistan challenges US accusations of harboring Taliban fighters

World Today

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, is greeted by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khan Abbasi, before their meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a stop in Pakistan to meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

As CGTN’s Danial Khan reports, they discussed a topic that is a constant source of tension between their countries.

Secretary of State Tillerson stressed the importance of fighting Islamic extremists and denying them safe havens in Pakistani territory. He met the country’s prime minister, foreign minister, and the heads of the army and intelligence services.

Tillerson told Prime Minister Abbasi that Pakistan and the U.S. have a shared interest in providing peace and security to the region, in part because a safer environment would encourage more trade.

The prime minister assured the American official that Pakistan is “committed in the war against terror.”

Both countries are strategic partners in that global war, according to Abbasi, who has recently pointed out that over 200,000 Pakistani troops are now fighting the world’s largest war against terrorism.

Some U.S. officials accuse Pakistan of harboring Afghani Taliban fighters and the Haqqani Network insurgent group. But critics in Islamabad said Washington has been mounting undue pressure on the country. Pakistan has fought terrorism for nearly two decades, has lost over sixty thousand lives, and experienced billions of dollars in economic losses.

For its part, Pakistan erected a fence along the 2,300 kilometer border with Afghanistan to keep the Taliban from entering its territory. Earlier this month, security forces recovered a U.S.-Canadian family from Taliban captivity.

Apart from Washington’s allegations, Pakistan has reservations about the White House’s South Asian strategy. As part of that strategy, U.S. President Donald Trump said that India should play a greater role in Afghanistan.

Experts said it will take mutual effort to bring the decades’ old war to an end, and for that to happen there should be a strong foundation of trust between U.S. and Pakistan.