— NEW DELHI
ecretary of State Rex
Tillerson said on Oct.
25 the United States is
extremist groups are
threatening the "stabil-
ity and security" of the Pakistan
Tillerson, who arrived in New
Delhi late Oct. 24 after a brief and
tense stop in Islamabad, said too
many extremists were finding
sanctuary inside Pakistan to
launch attacks on other nations.
He said Pakistan had an interest "in not just containing these
organizations but ultimately
eliminating" the groups.
"Quite frankly my view — and I
expressed this to the leadership
of Pakistan — is we also are concerned about the stability and
security of Pakistan's government as well," he told reporters
in New Delhi.
"This could lead to a threat to
Pakistan's own stability. It is not
in anyone's interests that the
government of Pakistan be desta-bilized."
Tillerson's visit — the first to
the nuclear-armed nation by a
senior official from President
Donald Trump's administration
— follows months of pressure
from Washington on Pakistan
over its alleged support for
Taliban militants. It follows an
unannounced stop in Kabul on
Oct. 23, where Tillerson reiterated America's commitment to
Afghanistan and warned that
Washington has made "very specific requests" of Pakistan over
Trump has angrily accused
Islamabad of harboring "agents
of chaos" who could attack U.S.-
led NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Washington and Kabul have
long accused Islamabad of supporting Afghan militants including the Taliban. They are
believed to have links to
Pakistan's military establishment, which aims to use them as
a regional bulwark against arch-nemesis India.
Pakistan has repeatedly
denied the charge, insisting it
maintains contacts only to try to
bring the militants to peace talks.
Tillerson did express his
appreciation to Pakistan officials
for the sacrifices it has made in
fighting militancy, and for its
help in securing the release of a
U.S.-Canadian family held captive by the Taliban for five years.
But America's top diplomat —
whose frosty visit to Islamabad
lasted just four hours — said the
United States would not tolerate
extremist safe havens. He
thanked India for its support
"In the fight against terrorism
the United States will continue to
stand shoulder to shoulder with
India," he said.
New Delhi has welcomed U.S.
overtures for closer ties, saying it
shares Washington's optimism
about their burgeoning relationship. Speaking ahead of his visit,
Tillerson called for deeper cooperation with India in the face of
growing Chinese influence in
Asia, and said Washington wanted to promote a "free and open"
region led by prosperous democ-racies.
Trump's top diplomat also said
Beijing sometimes acted outside
international conventions, citing
the South China Sea dispute as
Indian Foreign Minister
Sushma Swaraj said that Trump's
strategy for the region hinged on
Pakistan eradicating militant
havens on its territory.
"We believe that President
Trump's new policy can succeed
only if Pakistan effectively acts
against all terror organizations
without any discrimination," she
told the press conference with
Tillerson. India has historically
avoided alliances, preferring to
maintain cautious relations with
both Washington and Beijing, but
Trump has developed a warm
relationship with Prime Minister
Tillerson, who was to meet
Modi later Oct. 25 started the day
by meeting national security
adviser Ajit Doval.
He also laid a wreath at a
memorial to India's independence movement leader Mahatma
Gandhi, removing his shoes to
approach a pillar marking the
spot where Gandhi was shot dead
on Jan. 30, 1948.
Secretary of State says extremists finding sanctuary inside Pakistan
INDIA ABROAD November 3, 2017 27 U.S. AFFAIRS
By Gardiner Harris
— WASHINGTON, D.C.
ecretary of State Rex W.
Tillerson stopped in
Islamabad on his way to
New Delhi on Oct. 24 to deliver
what he hoped would be a
sobering message to Pakistan:
Stop funding or providing shel-
ter to terrorist groups. Now.
It is a message the United
States has been giving the
Pakistanis in various forms
since the Sept. 11 attacks, and it
is one the Pakistanis have by
turns harkened to, bristled at
and shrugged off — sometimes
in the same meeting — for
years. In tackling the deeply
between the United States and
Pakistan, the Trump adminis-
tration is finding that it is not
unlike some difficult marriages:
all but impossible to fix, but
also impossible to end.
There were few signs on Oct.
24 that this 16-year-old dynamic had changed.
Tillerson met with three of
Pakistan’s top leaders at the
elegant prime minister’s resi-
dence in Islamabad: Prime
Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi;
the foreign minister, Khawaja
Muhammad Asif; and, most
important, the Army’s chief of
staff, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.
At a formal greeting before a
portrait of Mohammad Ali
Jinnah, who is considered the
father of Pakistan, Tillerson
began with reassurances.
“Pakistan is important, as you
know, regionally to the U.S.
security relationships and so
important regionally to our
joint goals of providing peace
and security to the region and
providing opportunity for a
greater economic relationship
as well,” he said.
Abbasi, wearing a traditional
white kurta next to Tillerson’s
dark suit, responded cheerfully
but pointedly. “The U.S. can
rest assured that we are strategic partners in the war against
terror and that today Pakistan is
fighting the largest war in the
world against terror,” he said.
The United States believes
that Pakistan has for years supported terrorist groups, like the
Haqqani network, that attack
American troops in
Afghanistan, undermining the
16-year effort to defeat the
Taliban. But for just as long, the
United States has relied on
Pakistani air and land routes to
supply both American and
Without Pakistan, the United
U.S. Warns Pakistan to Stop Backing Terrorism
States would not be able to
keep troops in Afghanistan —
but it also might not need to,
some American observers sug-
gest. “What do you do when
your allies are part of the prob-
lem?” asked Daniel L. Byman, a
counterterrorism expert at
Georgetown University. “The
desire to turn our backs on
these people is there, but then
you worry that terrorists will
have more operational freedom
and it will cost you more in the
In public, the Pakistanis say
they have killed more terrorists
at greater cost in lives lost than
any other nation. In private,
Washington says Islamabad not heeding to plea since 9/11 attacks
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at the Prime Minister's
residence in Islamabad, Oct. 24. Continued on page 30
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets India’s
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in
New Delhi, Oct. 25.