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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent an unannounced visit to Afghanistan outlining elements of a peace strategy he says the Trump administration will commit to, on a conditional basis.

Shortly before, Tillerson had alluded to US concerns that Pakistan is providing safe haven to terrorist groups. They are believed to have links to Pakistan's shadowy military establishment, which aims to use them as a regional bulwark against arch-nemesis India.

It is imperative at the end that we are denying safe haven to any terrorist organizations or any extremists to any part of this world, "Tillerson said".

On Tuesday, Tillerson told Abbasi that Pakistan was "so important" to regional security as the pair shook hands ahead of the meeting.

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"We are committed in the war against terror", Abbasi told Tillerson, as the two men sat facing each other on a long table. "And we are looking forward to moving ahead with the USA and building a tremendous relationship".

Secretary Tillerson's Afghanistan trip was kept a secret due to security concerns, especially after an attack last month on Kabul airport during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The US-Pakistan relationship has waxed and waned dramatically since Trump took office in January. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on the Afghan President.

But Trump's blistering speech in August accusing Pakistan of harbouring militants saw Islamabad angrily hit back at the claims, insisting the United States took no account of the thousands of lives lost and billions spent in fighting extremism.

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"The perception here is whatever they do, it is not going to please the Americans", Hussain told AFP.

"There are, we believe, moderate voices among the Taliban, voices that do not want to continue to fight forever, they don't want their children to fight forever", said Tillerson.

Dealing with cross-border terrorism, especially a firm resolve to ensure closure of state-sponsored terror sanctuaries, topped the agenda for India-Afghanistan dialogue on Tuesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for what was the latter's fourth visit to India in the past three years. As the New York Times reports, the red fire alarm and military-style clock indicated the meeting took place not in Kabul but at the United States military base in Bagram, more than 30 miles away.

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  • Ryan Wade