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United States defense chief calls for deepening anti-terror cooperation with Pakistan

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In an interview he told that Pakistan is playing its role to establish peace in the region

Top military leadership met on Tuesday to discuss internal and regional security developments in a Corps Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi, chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. We are still suffering very badly from the Afghan war.

While there may not be any free lunches in this world, Pakistan continues to nearly rever China - a fact underlined by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday when he said the focus of Pakistan's foreign policy must shift away from the U.S. and onto China. "Nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan".

"The COAS [chief of army staff] took the forum on board about his military diplomacy through his recent visits overseas and interaction with foreign dignitaries visiting Pakistan", said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Mattis told Pakistani officials that the USA was ready to play its role in addressing Pakistan's reservations.

Authorities told the visiting delegation that Pakistan will continue conducting operations against terrorists, which is in its national interest.

A statement released later on Monday from Abbasi's office echoed the term "common ground", and said Mattis had emphasised he was "keenly aware" of the thousands of lives Pakistan has lost in its long battle with militancy.

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Speaking to the BBC Urdu on Mattis' trip, Asif said the Pakistan government raised the matter of India's future role under Trump administration's new policy for Afghanistan and the region with USA officials in Islamabad on Monday.

"We also maintained neutrality in the regional conflicts", Asif said while referring to Pakistan's relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

But Mattis's comments were in contrast to more strident language from the Central Intelligence Agency chief at a security forum last weekend.

The remarks triggered a series of high-level diplomatic meetings in the United States and Pakistan, but Islamabad has given few signs of concessions.

The officials have reportedly offered the support during a meeting with the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis during his visit to Islamabad.

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