New Delhi: US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday said the Trump administration will surely take action against Pakistan this time, a day after President Donald Trump warned Islamabad of the consequences of providing safe haven to terrorists.
Mattis was responding to a question on similar rhetoric in the past, but the US had shown reluctance in taking action against Pakistan. "The words (of Trump) were very tough, but those words have been said before. What's actually going to be done to sort or align that with the strategy?" Mattis was asked.
"I understand the question. You'll just have to watch it unfold in order to really get the answer to it,” the Pentagon chief, who is currently on a trip to West Asia told reporters travelling with him.
Mattis has directed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to make preparations to carry out Trump's strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. "I will be in consultation with the Secretary General of NATO and our allies, several of which have also committed to increasing their troop numbers. Together, we will assist the Afghan Security forces to destroy the terrorist hubs," he said.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not rule out use of American military resources to attack terrorists if there were actionable intelligence.
"The only way we can defeat an enemy that is as nimble and as cagey tactically as this enemy is we have to be as cagey and tactical as they are, and we've not been fighting that way," he said.
"I'm not going to comment on what it could include. But the President's been clear that we're going to protect American troops and servicemen," he said, when asked whether the attack will include strikes in Pakistan.
"We're going to attack terrorists wherever they live and we have put people on notice that if you're harbouring and providing safe haven to terrorists, be warned, be forewarned that we're going to engage with those who are providing safe haven and ask them to change what they're doing and help us help them," he said.
"Because in my view, the greatest benefactor other than the Afghan people themselves, to achieving stability and peace in Afghanistan are the people of Pakistan. They will benefit more than any other nation," Tillerson said.
(With PTI inputs)