US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Saudi Arabia , Qatar, Pakistan, India and Switzerland in a week-long trip starting on Friday, the State Department said in a statement released on Thursday.

In the Middle East, Tillerson will discuss the conflict with Yemen, Iran, and the ongoing dispute with Qatar, among other issues, the department said. In Geneva, he will meet several international organizations to discuss refugees, it added.

His trip, scheduled for October 20-27, also marks Tillerson’s first visit to South Asia as secretary, according to the department.

US Vice President Mike Pence had telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday evening to congratulate the country's armed forces over the recovery of a American-Canadian couple from the Taliban militants.

Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman were seized by the Taliban while hiking in Afghanistan in 2012, and then turned over to the group's affiliated militant Haqqani network in Pakistan.

The couple and their three children born in captivity were freed in a Pakistani military operation triggered by US intelligence and are now back in Canada.

US President Donald Trump said the raid that rescued American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their three young children showed that Pakistan had started to “respect the United States again” in response to his administration’s tough-talking tactics.

The Pakistan Army had earlier dismissed reports of multiple drone strikes which it said targeted Khost and Paktia province of Afghanistan. “There has been no airspace violation along Pak-Afghan border in that area nor any drone strike took place in Kurram Agency,” it had said in a statement.

Pakistan and the United States have for years been - at best - uneasy allies in the war against the Taliban and other Islamist extremists. The relationship hit a new low after President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of sheltering "agents of chaos".

The statement led to widespread criticism from the civilian and military leadership. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif even flew to Washington where he met Tillerson and reiterated Pakistan's commitment to upholding peace and security.