Outlining the United States President Donald Trump's strategy in Afghanistan, Vice President Mike Pence has said that Pakistan has been providing a safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations for too long but now those days are over as President Trump has put Islamabad on notice.
"For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organizations, but those days are over. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice," Pence told the U.S. troops during his surprise trip to Bagram Air Base on Thursday.
" As the President said, so I say now: Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with the United States, and Pakistan has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists," he added.
The trip, planned in secret for safety reasons, comes four months after Trump unveiled a new strategy for Afghanistan and is also Pence's first visit to the region since taking office as the U.S. Vice President.
He said that America is making "real progress" in Afghanistan and have prevented the Taliban from launching a major campaign against a provincial capital for the first time in three years.
"President Trump and I are proud to see that this new strategy is already bearing fruit all across Afghanistan. And the American people deserve to know that with the courage of everyone gathered here, we're making real progress in this fight for freedom in Afghanistan," Pence said.
"We've dramatically increased American air strikes. And together with our Afghan partners, we've put the Taliban on the defensive. We've prevented them from launching a major campaign against a provincial capital for the first time in three years. We've targeted the Taliban's funding as never before through renewed attacks on its drug trafficking networks," he further said.
Pence told the U.S. soldiers that they have been given new authorities to directly target the terrorists and militants no matter where they hide.
He said the Trump administration has lifted the restrictions that limited the effectiveness of American armed forces so that they can fully and swiftly wage battle against the enemy.
Pence also met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to discuss President Trump's Asia strategy.
He reaffirmed America's commitment to stand with the Afghan people.
"Important meeting w/ Afghanistan's Pres. @ashrafghani & @afgexecutive to discuss @POTUS' S. Asia strategy & to reaffirm our commitment to stand w/ the Afghan people, to stand up to terrorists that have found a safe haven here & to make it clear that the resolve of the U.S is firm," Pence tweeted.
Important meeting w/ Afghanistan's Pres. @ashrafghani & @afgexecutive to discuss @POTUS’ S. Asia strategy & to reaffirm our commitment to stand w/ the Afghan people, to stand up to terrorists that have found a safe haven here & to make it clear that the resolve of the U.S is firm pic.twitter.com/hxExi4BmUS— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) December 22, 2017
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, during his inaugural trip to Pakistan, reiterated U.S. President Donald Trump's message that Islamabad must increase its efforts to eradicate the militants and terrorists operating within the country.