US defense secretary holds talks with army chief Munir on regional matters

ISLAMABAD: The United States Department of Defence announced its secretary, Lloyd J. Austin, held a telephonic discussion with the army chief, Gen. Asim Munir.

According to a statement on Saturday, the two military leaders discussed areas of mutual interest as well as recent regional developments.

This is the second high-level interaction between the US and Pakistani defence authorities since Gen. Asim Munir took over as the Army Chief on November 29.

Earlier, US Central Command (Centcom) chief Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla had visited Pakistan and held a meeting with the army chief. During his visit, Gen. Kurilla met with senior military leaders, observed conditions and operations along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and discussed opportunities to strengthen the military-to-military relationship between Centcom and the Pakistani forces.

At the General Headquarters (GHQ), Gen. Kurilla met with Gen. Munir and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza.

In his statement, Secretary of Defence Austin said that the US and Pakistan have a long-standing defence partnership and “I look forward to working with Gen. Munir.” He also congratulated Gen. Munir on his recent appointment as Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff.

During his visit, Gen. Kurilla also traveled to Peshawar to visit the XI Corps headquarters. He and the XI Corps leaders traveled by helicopter to visit the Big Ben post overlooking the Khyber Pass, where they observed border security and discussed the cross-border threat of terror groups operating in Afghanistan.


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