John Kerry arrives in Pakistan on key visit

Kerry is scheduled to meet President, Primer Minister and Army Chief on Thursday.


Afp July 31, 2013
US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Pakistan late on Wednesday on an unannounced visit for talks on eliminating militant safe-havens as US-led troops prepare to leave Afghanistan. PHOTO REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Pakistan late Wednesday to press the new government on eliminating militant safe-havens as US-led troops prepare to leave Afghanistan.

He arrived in Islamabad shortly before 9PM ahead of meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani on Thursday.

Pakistani-US relations have been deeply troubled in recent years but recovered somewhat from the crisis sparked by the US killing of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Islamabad demands an end to US drone attacks targeting al Qaeda and Taliban operatives and bristles over US insistence that it do more to eradicate the threat posed by Islamist militants.

Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment runs high, complains that the United States fails to appreciate the sacrifices it has made in fighting terror, claiming to have lost 40,000 people since 2001.

But US officials say they are hopeful that Sharif's election and the impending withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan offers a new opportunity to re-craft relations along realistic objectives.

"We have obviously seen a pretty tumultuous relationship with Pakistan over the course of the last four and half years," a senior US official told reporters.

"Starting last summer I think we entered into a very constructive period. We really try to have much more sober expectations, to be more realistic," the official added.

COMMENTS (24)

Ali | 7 years ago | Reply

Wasnt this guy in the Middle East recently? Did he achieve anything there? Or does he just like to travel around?

choclet | 7 years ago | Reply

what he will leave behind would be some new jargon or expression like 'road map' 'good taliban bad taliban' 'paradigm shift' etc and every loser would be using it for the next few months in articles, discussions and speeches.

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