US, Pak making EFFORTS to improve ties

Islamabad, Dec 11: Talks between the US and Pakistan for finding common ground in Afghanistan have moved into a phase of quiet diplomacy aimed at resolving differences, according to authorities.

The authorities confirmed that the two countries had held a series of meetings before and after US Defence Secretary James Mattis's December 4 visit to Islamabad, reflecting the mutual desire to improve ties, Dawn news reported on Monday. 

Talking to the Pakistani media in Washing­ton, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary said that Secretary Mattis's visit had a positive impact on efforts to rebuild the relationship.

Pentagon's chief spokesperson Dana White said at a news briefing last week that Mattis visited Islamabad to find a common ground with Pakistan.

Diplomatic observers in Washington have said that this change was quite noticeable, when compared with the rhetoric that followed President Donald Trump's August 21 announcement of his new strategy for Afghanis­tan.

While Pakistan supports reconciliation between the Afghan government and Taliban, it warns that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict, reports Dawn news.

Soon after President Trump's speech, the US media reported that his administration was considering proposals to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, to expand drone attacks into Pakistan's settled areas and to expunge Pakistan from its list of major non-NATO allies.

Secretary Mattis, however, did not repeat any of these threats before, during or after his visit to Islamabad. 

He refused to do so even when prodded by the media.