General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and General Jim Mattis, United States Secretary of Defence had a 20-minute telephone conversation on Thursday. Both men agreed on continued engagement between the two countries was needed at multiple levels for achieving peace and stability in the region.
According to the press release issued by, Major General Asif Ghafoor, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General, the army chief congratulated General Mattis on assuming his new responsibilities and expressed the hope that his vast experience in the field would be of great value to the region.
In a tweet, the ISPR DG said that Secretary Mattis commended the sacrifices and resilience of the people and the armed forces of Pakistan, and appreciated the role the Pakistan Army had played in battling the scourge of terrorism.
read more: Where does Pakistan fit into Trump’s World?
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 9, 2017
Mattis has a long list of issues facing him, not least the growing role of ISIS in Afghanistan and its fight back in Syria and Iraq as well as the growing strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan again. While, he seems to have the President’s ear on matters of defense policy; the early fiasco the Americans faced in Yemen last month has not been a good welcome for either men.
Which “is best assessed through a holistic review,”
On the other hand, yesterday, General John Nicholson, who commands the US and international forces in Afghanistan, said that US had a complex relationship with Pakistan. Which “is best assessed through a holistic review,” Nicholson said, he went on to say that addressing US concerns about Pakistan was at the top of his list of priorities to address with the Trump administration.
He acknowledged Taliban gains over the past year and said he needs several thousand more international troops in order to break a stalemate in the long war with the Taliban. Gen Nicholson said he still had enough US troops to carry out counter-terrorism missions against Al Qaeda and other militant targets, but not enough to properly advise Afghan forces on the ground.
read more: Taliban tell Trump to get out of Afghanistan
The United States has cut both military and economic aid to Pakistan in recent years, reflecting their concerns over ‘safe havens’ being provided to the Haqqani network.