ISLAMABAD – US Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday during a brief official visit to the Asian country.
Mattis’ visit took place at a moment of tension between the two nations due to US accusations that Pakistan provides shelter to terrorists.
The premier office informed of the meeting with Mattis, which was also attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan.
The statement did not report details of the topics discussed in the meeting.
Mattis would also meet with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The US diplomat’s trip took place less than two weeks after a Pakistani court freed Hafiz Saeed, who had been under house arrest, and is accused by the US and India of having masterminded an attack that left 166 dead in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.
The release of Saeed – leader of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, which is alleged to be a front organization for the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba – was harshly criticized by Washington, which called for him to be tried for the attack in Mumbai.
Relations between Pakistan and the US took a turn for the worse after US President Donald Trump in August accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorist groups.
Pakistan, which denies these accusations, later suspended official visits between the two counties.
During his visit to Pakistan, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated the US stance on the matter and called for Pakistan to increase its efforts in eradicating terror groups operating in the country.
Kabul and Washington have been accusing Islamabad of giving shelter to insurgent groups for years, like the Taliban faction Haqqani Network, which has carried out attacks in Afghanistan.