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U.S. officials have always been frustrated by what they see as Pakistan's reluctance to act against groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network that they believe exploit safe haven on Pakistani soil to launch attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan.

US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis is scheduled to land in Pakistan on a day-long visit on Monday and is expected to discuss Washington's latest strategy for South Asia.

Mattis departed today on a five-day trip to reaffirm the enduring USA commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia, Defense Department officials said.

"They have said that they do not support havens for any terrorists, and Pakistan has taken significant casualties -both innocent people and their army - significant casualties from them. I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground and then we work together".

The defense secretary will then travel to Pakistan on December 4, where he will meet Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Bajwa.

In his response, Mattis said, "That's not the way I deal with issues".

"So this is an effort by the new American administration, to go in and set the conditions for future collaboration that leads to reconciliation in Afghanistan and a denial of safe havens for any terrorist group that would attack anyone in the region or elsewhere in the world, which a number of countries have suffered from", Mattis said.

In a blunt assessment early last week, Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said there have been no changes in Pakistan's support for militant networks.

The U.S., he said, has been very direct about what it expects Pakistan to do in the fight against the Taliban. He said Pakistan had wiped out militant hideouts with little help from the U.S.

He will also visit Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait during his tour.


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