Top-Level Talks Focus on U.S.-Pakistani Operations

MUSCAT, Oman, Feb. 23, 2011 — Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the top com­man­ders respon­si­ble for car­ry­ing out the Afghanistan-Pak­istan strat­e­gy met here today with Pak­istani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ash­faq Parvez Kayani to dis­cuss region­al secu­ri­ty issues and explore new ways to bet­ter coor­di­nate mil­i­tary oper­a­tions.
In addi­tion to Mullen, Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis, com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand; Navy Adm. Eric Olson, com­man­der of U.S. Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand; and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, par­tic­i­pat­ed in the day-long ses­sion.

“I was very grate­ful for Gen­er­al Kayani’s time and the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­tin­ue the dia­log and the rela­tion­ship at this very crit­i­cal time in our shared efforts,” Mullen told reporters after the ses­sion.

A mil­i­tary offi­cer famil­iar with the high-lev­el pro­ceed­ings –- the third of their kind to date — called them “very can­did and cor­dial, and very pro­duc­tive.”

Both del­e­ga­tions gave oper­a­tional updates, dis­cussing the need for more road-build­ing and oth­er infra­struc­ture devel­op­ment and greater cross-bor­der com­mu­ni­ca­tion and infor­ma­tion-shar­ing.

“The chair­man believes this kind of dia­log is vital to improv­ing coor­di­na­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions between our two mil­i­taries,” the offi­cial said.

Mullen believes the Pak­istani mil­i­tary “con­tin­ues to do a remark­able job bat­tling extrem­ists inside their bor­ders,” he said.

Today’s meet­ing had been in the plan­ning process for months and was not tied to recent devel­op­ments or cur­rent events in the Mid­dle East, the offi­cial empha­sized. It occurred dur­ing Mullen’s week-long trip through the region, which although long-planned, has changed in nature in light of wide­spread unrest in the region.

Kayani, in a state­ment released by the Pak­istani mil­i­tary, said he was “pleased to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss with Amer­i­can offi­cers the progress we have made fight­ing extrem­ists in our coun­try and to offer them my thoughts about how our two sides might bet­ter coop­er­ate.”

“Pakistan’s sol­diers have fought brave­ly and accom­plished much at great cost,” Kayani said. “We must hon­or those sac­ri­fices by mak­ing sure our mil­i­tary oper­a­tions are under­stood.”

Pak­istani Maj. Gen. Javed Iqbal, direc­tor gen­er­al of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions, and Brigadier Muham­mad Saeed accom­pa­nied Kayani to the ses­sion.

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

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