'Common ground' theme in testy US-Pakistan ties

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Last week, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, said Islamabad had not carried out the "clear" demands that had been made by Washington.

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa today chaired a high-level meeting of top military officers and discussed the regional security situation with reference to Afghanistan, officials said. "We want peace in Afghanistan". However, Mattis was told that Pakistan would be ready to take action against any group of militants on the receipt of actionable intelligence from the U.S. side.

During meeting with the USA defence chief, it was decided that the dialogue process between the two countries would continue through diplomatic contacts.

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The statement by CIA Director Mike Pompeo came ahead of US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis's visit to Islamabad where he will persuade Pakistan to support the new US strategy on Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials have pushed back on the USA accusations and say they have done a great deal to help the United States in tracking down militants.

He explained how the Trump administration would deal with the situation if Pakistan turned down Washington's request to destroy safe havens.

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The support was reportedly offered during a meeting with Mattis during his visit to Islamabad.

Lt Col Michael Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, said payments to Pakistan from the fund are still frozen, and that "Secretary Mattis has not yet made a decision on the certification required" by Congress to release the $400 million in counter-terrorism funds for Pakistan in fiscal 2017.

The office said in a statement that Mattis emphasized that in view of his long association with Pakistan, he was "keenly aware of the sacrifices rendered and the lives lost in Pakistan's fight against terrorism and extremism; and his personal respect and appreciation for the professional abilities of Pakistan's armed forces".

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In a speech in August presenting his war strategy for Afghanistan, Trump accused Pakistan of hosting "agents of chaos" and said that its approach would have to change "immediately".

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