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McMaster in Pakistan, calls for steps to check terror

ISLAMABAD

US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser met Pakistan’s prime minister and army chief on Monday and emphasised “the need to confront terrorism in all its forms”, while praising democratic and economic development.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed hope that the new US administration might mediate between Pakistan and longtime foe India over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir.

HR McMaster was on his first South Asian trip since the new US administration took office in January, earlier stopping in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s war-ravaged neighbour to the west.

Official statements on Monday gave little indication of whether the Trump administration would adopt a new, tougher policy on Pakistan, as some Afghan officials and Islamabad’s arch-foe India would like.

Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of providing Taliban insurgents shelter, and perhaps support, on its side of the countries’ porous border. Pakistan denies it shelters the Afghan Taliban and says it fights against all the region’s jihadist groups with equal vigour.

McMaster indicated frustration with Pakistan in an interview with an Afghan news channel on Sunday. “As all of us have hoped for many, many years, we have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past,” he told Tolo News in Kabul.

Reuters