President Donald Trump will dispatch his top diplomatic and military advisers to Pakistan in the coming weeks, turning up the heat on a nuclear-armed ally accused of harbouring terror groups.
Weeks after Trump accused Islamabad of providing safe haven to “agents of chaos”, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to depart for Pakistan late this month. He will be followed by Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, according to sources.
The one-two punch is designed to drill home Trump’s message that Pakistani state support for militant groups has to end, according to officials briefed on the visits. Washington has long been frustrated by Pakistan’s willingness to offer cross-border safe havens to Taleban factions and armed militant groups fighting US troops and their Afghan allies.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” Trump said in an August address.
Mattis told Congress that he will try “one more time” to “see if we can make this work”.