US National Security Adviser Susan Rice yesterday met Pakistan’s prime minister to press concerns over attacks launched by militants based in Pakistan, officials said.
The visit to Islamabad, part of an Asian tour that included an earlier stop in China, comes amid uncertainty over whether the US will release $300mn in military aid to Pakistan.
Media reports have suggested the money could be held back if the US determines Pakistan is not doing enough to combat the Haqqani network, which has launched some of the deadliest attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Rice “will address areas of mutual interest and of concern, including terrorist and militant attacks emanating from Pakistani soil”, a senior US official who asked not to be identified told Reuters.
The official said Rice’s visit was not in response to recent escalating tension between Pakistan and arch-rival India, who cancelled planned peace talks last weekend. Nine people were killed during an exchange of fire on Friday along a border disputed by India and Pakistan.
The US has urged Pakistan and India to get reconciliation talks back on track.
Rice met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday and is expected to meet General Raheel Sharif, the army chief of staff.
“Dr. Rice expressed deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the efforts to root out terrorism and extremism and the success achieved so far,” a statement from Sharif’s office said.
Pakistan’s military has been waging a fierce offensive against the Pakistani Taliban and its radical Islamist allies in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border, since last year.
Some have questioned whether the leadership of the Haqqani network, which is allied with, but separate, to the Taliban, had been allowed to leave to avoid the brunt of the assault.