- Pentagon has said that ISAF commander Gen John Allen’s meeting with Pakistan army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani had been “very productive”.
Gen Allen had visited Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss military-to-military cooperation and issues creating friction between the two sides over the last few months. Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the visit was aimed at continuing dialogue with Pakistan on all critical issues.
“This is an effort to continue the dialogue we had with Pakistan on a range of issues affecting the US Pakistani relationship,” he said while talking to reporters in an off-camera chat. He, however, reiterated that no agreement had been reached yet on the ground supply routes from Pakistan. “Without getting into specifics of our discussion with Pakistan, I think there is reason for optimism here. We are reaching a point in our relationship with Pakistan that suggests that things are settling down a bit,” he remarked. George Little was quick to point out though that some of the issues were still unresolved. “I am not saying that all the issues are behind us, some of the issues are out there, but important thing is we continue to talk with Pakistan on ground supply routes and a range of other issues related to the bilateral defense relationship,” he said.
Expressing hope for a positive outcome, he said Pakistan and US were moving towards a more routine system of dialogue. “I think, the basis for some kind of an agreement on the GLOCs is there and is real and we hope that we reach a resolution on it. It has been over seven months, and we obviously want to get through this issue and be able to use ground supply routes in Afghanistan,” he pointed out.
He vehemently denied reports that Gen Allen’s visit to Islamabad was a “last ditch effort” to resolve ties with Pakistan. “We are not viewing our ongoing discussions with the Pakistanis as last ditch efforts. We are committed to continuing discussions with Pakistan not only on supply routes but on a broad range of issues,” he argued. Responding to another question regarding attack by TTP militants in Dir that killed 13 Pakistani soldiers, he regretted the incident. “We deplore any attack on our Pakistani partners. The TTP poses a threat to both Pakistan and to the United States,” he said.
“We take aggressive action against terrorists on the Afghan side of the border. We will continue to do so. Whether it is the Haqqani network or the TTP, whether it is al Qaeda, we will take decisive action on the Afghan side of the border,” he assured. “It is important for the United States and Pakistan to work closely with each other on issue of insurgents that cross the border and that is what we have called for in recent weeks with respect to safe havens in Pakistan,” Little recalled.