WASHINGTON: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo has warned Pakistan that if it does not eliminate the alleged safe havens inside its territory, the United States will do “everything it can” to destroy them.The CIA director sent a harsher message when asked at the Reagan National Defence Forum in Simi, California, on Saturday how would the Trump administration persuade Pakistan to adhere to its new Afghan strategy. Pompeo said, “You begin by seeking their assistance.”He then explained how the Trump administration would deal with the situation if Pakistan turned down Washington’s request to destroy alleged “safe havens”. “In the absence of the Pakistanis achieving that, we are going to do everything we can to make sure that that safe haven no longer exists,” he said. Since 2004, the CIA has conducted drone strikes in FATA and recent media reports have suggested that the Trump administration may expand those strikes to cover other areas inside Pakistan.Pompeo’s predecessor, Leon Panetta, also shared with the forum his experience of dealing with Pakistan as the Obama administration’s CIA chief. “Pakistan has always been a problem. It has been a safe haven for terrorists who cross the border and attack in Afghanistan and go back into Pakistan,” he said. “We have made every effort possible, during the time I was there, to convince Pakistan to stop it. But Pakistan, as Mike knows, has this kind of two-wedge approach to dealing with terrorism,” he added. “On one hand, yes, they do not like terrorism, or attacks from terrorism in their country. But at the same time, they don’t mind using terrorism as leverage to deal with Afghanistan and to deal with India.” Panetta claimed that Pakistan has had this policy since his days at the CIA and that’s why “Pakistan has always been a question mark”.Published in Daily Times, December 5th 2017.