Mullen Meets With Pakistanis to Align Interests, Goals

ISLAMABAD, Pak­istan, Dec. 14, 2010 — The chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in Pak­istan today on his 21st vis­it to a key ally in the war against extrem­ists in Cen­tral Asia.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen will meet with Pak­istani Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ash­faq Kayani, U.S. Ambas­sador to Pak­istan Cameron Munter, and oth­er U.S. and Pak­istani lead­ers.

“We will update each oth­er and where we stand on cer­tain issues,” Mullen said, adding that he wants the Pak­istani military’s take on what is hap­pen­ing in the region. In addi­tion to his 21 trips here, Mullen also has met often with Pak­istani lead­ers in Wash­ing­ton and else­where.

One sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge is sim­ply defin­ing mutu­al inter­ests and objec­tives, the chair­man said on the plane trip here. “The best way I know how to do that is an indi­vid­ual meet­ing,” he said.

Mullen said he will not brief Kayani on the White House’s Afghanistan-Pak­istan review, because it is not done yet. The two mil­i­tary lead­ers will dis­cuss the con­tin­u­ing prob­lem of mil­i­tants along the Afghan-Pak­istani bor­der and the prob­lems asso­ci­at­ed with Afghan Tal­iban sanc­tu­ar­ies in Pak­istan, the chair­man said.

The stolen clas­si­fied mate­ri­als pub­lished on the Wik­iLeaks web­site may com­pli­cate the sit­u­a­tion, Mullen acknowl­edged, but he said he is com­fort­able his rela­tion­ship with mil­i­tary lead­ers in Pak­istan can han­dle any awk­ward issues. They will dis­cuss hard issues, and his rela­tion­ship will allow that, he said.

Mullen said he hopes to get a read-out of the Pak­istani floods that dev­as­tat­ed the coun­try over the sum­mer. He and Kayani sur­veyed the dam­age in an exten­sive heli­copter tour the last time the chair­man was in Pak­istan, and the Pak­istani mil­i­tary was heav­i­ly involved in flood relief.

The floods affect­ed mil­lions of peo­ple through­out some of the most pop­u­lat­ed areas of the nation. Whole vil­lages were destroyed, and large areas were sub­merged. The Pak­istani army had to take per­son­nel, heli­copters and vehi­cles from its mil­i­tary efforts along the bor­der to help in the human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter.

Deal­ing with the Tal­iban sanc­tu­ar­ies is a pri­or­i­ty, Mullen said, not­ing that the Pak­istani chief of staff has met with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force, on the issue.

“It gets back to this align­ment or mis­align­ment of inter­ests,” the chair­man said. “The [Pak­istani mil­i­tary] is under attack from these extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions. This is a coun­try we con­tin­ue to try to build trust with, have a rela­tion­ship with and get our inter­ests aligned so we’re both clear­ly head­ed in the same direc­tion.”

Mullen said he believes in rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Pak­istan and Afghanistan with peo­ple who see the error of their ways and wish to affil­i­ate with the gov­ern­ment. “That should be encour­aged, but I also fun­da­men­tal­ly believe there are irrec­on­cil­ables,” Mullen said.

The engage­ment with Pak­istan does­n’t begin and end with the chair­man. Offi­cers and non­com­mis­sioned offi­cers in both coun­tries have trained and worked togeth­er since rela­tions were re-estab­lished in 2002. Amer­i­can train­ers have worked with the Fron­tier Scouts, and Pak­istani com­man­ders down to com­pa­ny lev­el now are famil­iar, at least, with Amer­i­cans, he said. Many Pak­istani offi­cers have tak­en pro­fes­sion­al mil­i­tary edu­ca­tion cours­es in the Unit­ed States, and U.S. offi­cers have attend­ed the Pak­istani ver­sion of the War Col­lege. All this means that peo­ple are build­ing trust at a per­son­al lev­el with a key ally, Mullen said.

The chair­man stressed that Amer­i­cans have not been involved in any com­bat oper­a­tions with the Pak­istan mil­i­tary. The Unit­ed States is impa­tient to see the Tal­iban sanc­tu­ar­ies elim­i­nat­ed, he added, but U.S. lead­ers must exer­cise “strate­gic patience” with the Pak­ista­nis to build the trust nec­es­sary to forge a good alliance.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →