U.S., Pakistani Officials Discuss Military Relationship

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2012 — Senior U.S. offi­cers met today with their Pak­istani coun­ter­parts in Islam­abad, Pak­istan, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary George Lit­tle said.

Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis, com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, and Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, com­man­der of the NATO-led Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan, met with Pak­istani offi­cials, includ­ing Gen. Ash­faq Parvez Kayani, the Pak­istani army’s chief of staff, Lit­tle told reporters.

“The focus of the meet­ing was to dis­cuss the U.S.-Pakistani mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship,” he said.

This is the first such meet­ing in Pak­istan since late last year, although mil­i­tary lead­ers from both sides have main­tained oth­er con­tact, Lit­tle not­ed. Rela­tions between the two coun­tries, and between NATO and Pak­istani forces, have been strained since a Nov. 26 engage­ment near the Afghanistan-Pak­istan bor­der that left 24 Pak­istani sol­diers dead.

After that inci­dent, Pak­istani offi­cials barred NATO forces from using ground car­go trans­port routes through Pak­istan, which pre­vi­ous­ly had car­ried most ISAF troop sup­plies trans­port­ed into Afghanistan.

Lit­tle did not dis­cuss details of today’s meet­ings, but said offi­cials are hope­ful that the ground sup­ply routes will re-open soon. “They are impor­tant to our effort in Afghanistan,” he said.

Bor­der coor­di­na­tion is much improved since the late-Novem­ber inci­dent, Lit­tle said. The Pak­istani par­lia­ment is review­ing mil­i­tary rela­tions with the Unit­ed States, he added, and U.S. offi­cials are open to dia­logue.

“We believe strong­ly that the rela­tion­ship with Pak­istan is very impor­tant, and [this meet­ing is] a reflec­tion of our com­mit­ment to the rela­tion­ship,” he said.

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