Clinton, Mullen arrive in Pakistan on surprise visit

Hillary Clinton
Islamabad, May 27: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today (May 27) arrived in Pakistan on a surprise visit amid severe strains in bilateral ties following the American raid that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden earlier this month.

Clinton and US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who arrived here last night, will hold crucial talks with Pakistan's civilian and military leaders aimed at easing tensions caused by the discovery of bin Laden in a garrison city located just 80 kms from the federal capital.

She is expected to pressure the Pakistan government to take more steps to flush out terrorists from the country.

The two US leaders will meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Clinton will hold "sober" talks about the need for Pakistan to root out terrorists, a senior US State Department official told CNN.

The Pakistanis "are on thin ice", another senior unnamed official said.

Unlike previous visits in which Clinton unveiled initiatives for US assistance to Pakistan, the officials said she will warn that American aid "is in jeopardy" unless Pakistan makes progress on several key US points.

Clinton will lay out "certain benchmarks" for the Pakistani government to meet, they said.

Specifically, Clinton will tell the Pakistani leaders that the US is looking for the country to demonstrate its willingness to go after senior al-Qaeda targets, take action against factories producing improvised explosive devices for use against US troops in Afghanistan and to support Taliban reconciliation, the officials said. 


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